CHESTER PA – Hellabalou, the 2021 Adios winner making his debut for trainer Ron Burke and three of his four owning entities, completed a natural four-timer for driver Simon Allard by winning the $22,500 fast-class handicap pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday in 1:50.1.
Hellabalou, a son of Sweet Lou, was hustled out of the gate by Allard and to the lead, causing Komodo Beach, the 1-5 favorite after tying the season’s mark of 1:48.4 at Philly in his last start, to have to land in fourth as insiders defended early position. Hellabalou got to the quarter in :26.3, benefited from a big breather for this kind when he reached the half in :55.3, then continued on to a 1:22.4 three-quarters. Komodo Beach was put into play late on the backstretch and motored home in :53.4 - :26.3, but he still came up 1½ lengths shy of the winner.
Eric Good purchased Hellabalou as a yearling in 2019, and had been the sole owner of the horse until he was joined in partnership with Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Lawrence Karr less than a week ago. Hellabalou now has lifetime earnings of $470,794.
An Allard-driven horse also knocked off a 1-5 shot in the $16,200 distaff pacing co-feature, as the Rockin Image mare Grace Rocks sat in the pocket behind Scarlett Hanover’s fractions of :27, :56, and 1:23.2, then outfooted that one late to win by 3½ lengths in 1:50.3 for trainer Dean Eckley and owner Howard Taylor.
The big story in this race, though, was the heavily-fancied Mikala, conqueror of Test Of Faith in a Graduate leg with a :25 last quarter, who was bet heavily despite a 20-day absence. Mikala was well-placed second-over behind High Minded as that one challenged hard for the lead on the far turn, but then High Minded took a couple of non-straight steps and got into Mikala as that one started to edge wide, causing her to make an interference break and also scattering the rest of the field. High Minded would be placed last.
Simon Allard would win the last race on the card to give him five on the day, two of them for trainer Jeff Cullipher, who harnessed three winners on the Friday card.
A mammoth 16-race card Sunday at Philly will contain the last preliminary leg for the two-year-old trotting fillies in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series, with the top pointwinners in the PaSS joining their fellow top two-year-olds on a $1M+ Championship at Philly a week from Sunday, on September 4. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.