CHESTER PA – Hayek won for the third straight time at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, this time stepping up in company to capture the $22,500 handicap trot in 1:53.1.
Hayek went off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of six, and driver George Naploitano Jr. was winning to pay a good early price to get there, being out three-deep almost to the three-sixteenths and not crossing over until past the :27.3 opening quarter. Once on top, the victorious E L Titan gelding stopped the timer in :56.1 and 1:24.4 midrace, at the latter station being joined uncovered by Storm Is Raging, who had drawn the outermost slot and had to tuck early rather than pay a more fearsome price than Hayek to gain control of the stick – if he ever got there.
Through the stretch Storm Is Raging remained game, but Hayek proved the better horse on this afternoon, withstanding “the Storm” by 1¼ lengths. Per Engblom, Philly’s leading conditioner, trains the winner of $119,945 this year and $400,046 lifetime for Evan Katz and Frank Canzone.
Another horse to post a third straight triumph on Thursday afternoon was the Archangel gelding Lexus Kody, who won the $15,300 co-featured trot in 1:53.3. Simon Allard let the early stonedust settle then moved Lexus Kody, a heavy favorite, to the lead after the :27.4 quarter, put up midsplits of :56.3 and 1:25.2, and saw his trotter come home seemingly effortlessly to be 5 1/4 lengths ahead of 49-1 Cash Machine Girl while boosting his earnings to $203,897.
Oddly, before recently crossing the border from Canada to join the Burke Brigade and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phil Collura, Lexus Kody had opened his season with six straight seconds, the last five by a neck or less; after a break in his first Stateside start at Yonkers, his form has been perfect.
Jack Pelling took advantage of some “live” catch-drives (two favorites and a second choice) and posted three winners on the day to top the local colony.
“Trottin’ Thursday” is still in effect at Harrah’s; the upcoming cards at 12:25 on Friday and 12:40 Sunday will find pacers in the spotlight, with fast-class horses battling for $16,200 in the Friday feature. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.