CHESTER PA – Two-year-old pacers were in the spotlight as the racing week opened at Harrah’s Philadelphia, with four $13,000 events highlighting the sidewheeling freshmen, three for fillies and one for colts and geldings.
Trainer Chris Ryder, who won the $300,000 Lynch Championship for sophomore fillies with Stonebridge Soul this past Saturday at Pocono, may have a follow-up good one in the Artspeak – Conquer The Beach freshman miss Winning Words, who took her pari-mutuel debut in 1:54.3 Driver Dexter Dunn sent the filly to the lead, set fractions of :28, :58, and 1:26.2, and withstood the stretch bid of favored first-over Wingding Hanover by a neck for Kenneth Solomon and RBH Ventures Inc.
Driver Yannick Gingras accounted for the other two divisions of the three sections for baby fillies; his faster winner was Firefly, who scored in 1:55.1 for a new mark. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere – Music City pressed on to the lead in :28.4, got a breather to the :58.3 half, then went to the three-quarters in 1:26.4 and kept a 2½ length margin over pocketsitting Lola’s Gold for trainer Bruce Saunders and owners Charles and Julie Nash.
The division for males saw the North American seasonal race record for all sizes of tracks fall to the debuting gelding Western Vacation in 1:54.1. Marcus Miller raced the son of Western Ideal out of the $498G+-winning Robin Cruiser in the pocket as Sunuma Beach set fractions of :27.4, :57.4, and 1:26.1, then moved him out headstretch and saw him pace by the leader for a half length victory for trainer Julie Miller and the Pinske Stables.
The meet’s winningest driver, Tim Tetrick, added four more victories to his total on Wednesday.
Shartin N, the #1-ranked harness horse in North America, returns to the races on Sunday at Harrah’s Philadelphia in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series event for pacing mares, and she drew the rail to boot in the field of eight. The iron-tough mare has won seven races in a row – as has a competitor of hers, Reclamation, who broke her maiden in Ireland last year racing for a purse of $708, was sent across the Atlantic, and has rolled a perfect seven since April 12, taking a mark of 1:50. The Irish miss, though, will find the Kiwi mare and the other entrants the sternest test of her career.