CHESTER PA – The trotters and pacers returned to Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday morning for their first set of qualifiers in 2019, one week ahead of the track’s opening day for the year.
With the temperature in the mid-40s and horses forced to negotiate a “sloppy +2” surface, the Well Said sophomore gelding Just Plain Loco went the fastest mile with an open-length win in 1:56.3 for driver Pat Berry and trainer Tom Fanning. Just Plain Loco took his two-year-old mark of 1:54 in a Pennsylvania Stallion Series contest; he also won the Renaissance Final and was second in the Sheppard.
Trainer Ron Coyne Jr. also sent out two winning pupils, including the sophomore pacing filly Philly Hanover, winning at Philly in 1:57.2 for driver Tim Tetrick. Second in her Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship last year, the Captaintreacherous filly Philly Hanover may have a bit of an early-season edge when the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes starts its 2019 season with her division, right here at Philly, on Friday, May 3.
Coyne’s other winner, Armagedon Seelster, took the fastest of the trotting qualifiers in 1:59.2 under Pat Berry’s handling.
The draw for next Friday’s inaugural card will be held on Tuesday. Philly’s basic racing schedule will be a Wednesday through Friday lineup at 12:25 and Sunday racing at 12:40. April dark days will be April 3 and 10, both Wednesdays in anticipation of the usual horse shortage until the racing stock begins to increase with the warmer weather, and Easter Sunday, April 21.