CHESTER PA – Joey Bats again showed his fondness for the Harrah’s Philadelphia oval, notching his third straight win in recent appearances with a 1:54.1 victory in the $18,000 trotting feature Thursday at the riverside oval.
The four-year-old Holiday Road gelding made every pole a winning one, rattling off splits of :27.4, :56.4, and 1:25.3, then sprinting away from his competition in the last quarter. He won by four lengths over pocketsitter Ooh Rah, giving him eight wins on the year and a career bankroll of $231,207. Andrew Harris trains the sharp trotter for Scott Dillon, Michele Nelson, and Marc Reynolds.
Tony Morgan, second in the all-time North American driving victory ranks, combined with Ron Burke, first in the training tables, to tally with the Kadabra gelding Mr Houdini in 1:55.1 in the other trot co-feature. On the board in his last four starts without winning, Mr Houdini sat in the pocket for the better part of the mile, came up the inside to get the lead in the lane, and then hold off Boy Meets Girl K by a neck for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.
George Napolitano Jr., second in the Philly sulky success standings behind Tetrick, helped firm up his spot with victories in four of the last five races.
Harrah’s will host a special Friday evening card tomorrow, with the first action beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sunday will be the $1.3 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Two-Year-Old Championships card, with the attendant consolation races.