CHESTER PA – It’s been 15 years since harness racing returned to the Delaware Valley sector at the Harrah’s plant in southeast Pennsylvania, and that milestone was celebrated in several entertaining ways on a rare Friday night card at the riverside oval.
One of the most popular features was showing classic races from some of the classic trotters and pacers that have graced the Harrah’s oval over the years: Shartin N, Wiggle It Jiggleit, Market Share, Buck I St Pat, and Mister Big – in races dating back to 2009, three of those track records still stand, and a fourth horse (Shartin N) lowered her own mark. Those watching also saw Silver Flash win the first race ever at Harrah’s, with the first meet’s leading driver, Cat Manzi, in the sulky.
On the trot, the Donato Hanover filly Billy Ray Hanover kept her head when all about her were losing theirs (four of her six foes were offstride before the quarter), sat the two-hole behind Keepthetab Hanover, then picked up that foe late by a neck while lowering her speed badge to 1:57. Simon Allard, a five-time winner on the card, guided the Robert Greenwood pupil to her second straight victory for Howard and Joshua Kaufman.
In the $11,200 event for fast-class pacers, provisional driver Patrick Ryder gave a heady drive to the Bettor’s Delight gelding Jesse Duke N while posting his first career victory – and not too many drivers have their first career triumph go in1:50.2. Ryder shot “Jesse” out to the lead, forced Beechers Brook A to take the pocket in a :26.4 opener, got to the half in :55.4, went :26.3 down the back to take the sting out of first-over favorite Environs Hanover, then held off a resurgent Beechers Brook A by a neck while taking a new mark. Proud father Chris Ryder trains the winner of $426,166, and also co-owns him with Deo Volente Farms LLC and Thomas Pontone.
Sunday’s card at Harrah’s has two $16,200 for high-level pacers, the sixth race for mares (with Shouldabeenatd and Shes Pukka N handicapped outside based on earnings), and the eighth for males, where Jack’s Shadow N and Tyga Hanover happened to draw the outside posts and are likely to fight for favoritism. Harrah’s programs are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.