CHESTER PA – The highlight of an otherwise-dreary day at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon was the 7000th career driving victory of “The Captain,” Corey Callahan.
This milestone win for Callahan, who has guided horses to $102.4 million in earnings lifetime, may have been even better for the likable 44-year-old, because the winner Star Razor is trained by his brother Shaun and is co-owned by his father Nick along with Yorwollahan Racing Team (of which Corey is a member) and Greg Godbout. They were all joined in the winners circle by other, mostly youthful, members of Clan Callahan after the Dejarmbro gelding Star Razor went wire-to-wire in 1:54.4 to give him his fourth straight victory. (“The Captain” nickname, by the way, comes from Corey’s days playing ice hockey for the University of Kentucky.)
Hayek has certainly shown an affinity for the Philly racing surface, winning his third straight in as many recent starts, recording a 1:54 win over a “sloppy +2” oval while taking Thursday’s $22,500 handicap trot.
Having beaten lesser opposition in his two local starts, the winning E L Titan gelding had the chance to draw for an inner slot against a field which had won a collective $5.7 million, and Dexter Dunn put the opportunity to maximum use, getting Hayek into pocket position behind the swift-leaving JL Cruze, where he sat through splits of :27.3, :56.2, and 1:25. Dunn sensed his horse was full of trot and vacated the two-hole on the far turn, with his horse responding quickly and winning by 1 1/2 lengths over JL Cruze, who retained second in a photo over Scirocco Rob, winner of the last two races in this class but finding the outside post eight just a bit too much here.
Hayek boosted his lifetime bankroll to $350,271 for trotter Per Engblom and the partnership of Evan Katz, David Rovine Stable LLC, and Frank Canzone.
The continued patience in waiting for the four-year-old year of Bee Forever, the majestically-bred son of Muscle Hill – Bee A Magician, again paid off for owner Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David Mc Duffee, as he remained undefeated in four 2022 starts after a 1:55.1 off-track triumph in the $15,300 co-feature. The gelding tucked fourth then was sent uncovered by Dexter Dunn, sweeping the features, heading into the backstretch, where he roared by the pacesetter nearing the far turn and stayed clear to the wire, coming his own back half in :56.2. Nifty Norman’s trainee shows a very large capacity, maneuverability, and determination – not quite the smoothest horse yet, Bee Forever may still soon be among the better trotters on the North American scene.
Racing will continue at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday at 12:25 and Sunday at 12:40; programs are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.