CHESTER PA – A pair of $22,500 handicap paces for veteran fast-class horses shared the Friday spotlight at Harrah’s Philadelphia with driver Troy Beyer bringing home a pair of $100+ winners – the first person to do that in one day since statistics for Philly (and Pocono) started to be kept by the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association in 2016.
In the handicap pace for distaffs, millionaire Fire Start Hanover got a very quick start and went on to victory in 1:50.4. Corey Callahan made the top before the :27.1 quarter, got a soft (for these) half in :55.4, then hit the three-quarters in 1:23.1 as 25-1 shot Westbeach came up to challenge. The favored daughter of Somebeachsomewhere held her advantage to the wire, 1¼ lengths to the good of the first-over as she raised her career total to $1,268,868 for trainer Nifty Norman and the partnership of Pinske Stables, David Hoese, and Lawrence Means.
In the pace for males, the Bettors Delight gelding Ilikemebettor A was looking to atone for failing to reach contention from post eight in his last start despite being a heavy favorite. The favorite again this week – though by a mere $15 over Komodo Beach – launched forward early in a field of five, was in charge before a :26.3 quarter, yielded to Komodo Beach and then sat behind him through midsplits of :54.2 and 1:21.2. Ilikemebettor A challenged the pacesetter on the far turn, put him away, then held off the sharp Pat McGarry A by 1¼ lengths to take a Stateside mark of 1:49. Ilikemebettor A has won three of five North American starts for driver Marcus Miller (who tied with Beyer as winningest driver of the day with three), trainer/father Erv Miller, and the partnership of Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Douglas Overhiser.
Troy Beyer’s longshot duo were Bright Side Up ($115.20) in the day’s second race and Pompeo Hanover ($125.80) in the eight; the latter’s price was especially generous seeing as he had paid $52.40 on August 24, and here joined Gumption as the only repeat $50+ winners at the meet. The horses’ respective trainers, Robert Greenwood and Jake Leamon, became the latest two of six trainers to have two “bombers” ($50+) at the meet, and Beyer both took the outright lead in $50 horses with six and tied Victor Kirby for the $100 winner lead with two here in 2022.
The last time two horses had paid over $100 in one day at Philly was back on July 13, 2016 (it has happened three times at Pocono since, including July 18 of this year). But Beyer is the first individual to have two triple-digit win payoffs in the recent keeping of records.
The racing week closes here Sunday with a 12:40 fourteen-race card, and in an innovative structure the first seven races will run the gamut of pacing claimer ranks, while the second half of the card will be for conditioned horses. Program pages for all Philly cards are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.