CHESTER PA – Komodo Beach, fresh off a win in the Championship of a Kentucky series at Oak Grove, came to Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday afternoon and promptly won the $22,500 handicap pace in 1:48.4, equaling the clocking put up by Let It Ride N in the Open on May’s Super Sunday as the fastest local mile of the year.
The four-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere was reserved by Andrew McCarthy off a hot pace, with Ultimaroca grabbing the top from Casual Cool after a :25.4 quarter only to see that one remove to the lead well before the :53.2 half. Casual Cool was still fighting for the lead at the 1:21 three-quarters, as Dragon Said was grinding up first-over, with Komodo Beach right on his back.
Dragon Said made the lead around the turn and paced on gamely to the wire, but Komodo Beach had a little more off the cover trip and won by half a length. Noel Daley trains the winner of $382,640 ($151,510 of which has come this year) for Morrison Racing Stables, who purchased the horse outright before the 2022 racing season.
Favored P L Ozzy had gained the lead past the :26.4 quarter in the $15,300 co-featured pace and sailed along through fractions of :55.1 and 1:22 while opening a little distance on the field. Then out of nowhere, the horse went on a break – he may have tried to jump the shadow of a light standard visible on the track before midturn. This event left Meadowlands Pace elimination winner Market Share, who had been sitting in the two-hole, on the lead while also giving the third-in Copper Teen room, and that American Ideal gelding paced off to victory in 1:50.1, lowering his lifetime standard by almost four seconds. Joe Bongiorno guided the $58.20 upsetter for trainer Per Engblom and owners Evan Katz, Frank Canzone, and Joseph Di Scala Jr.
Driver Bongiorno had the hot hands at Philly Friday, guiding four winners. Two of them were for the stable of his sister Jenn -- the pair both led their respective percentage tables here last year. Perhaps the double signaled better fortune for Jenn, who since July 30 at Philly/Pocono was only 2 for 16, with many favored horses failing to get the job done, but the stable rebounded strongly today.
Sunday’s card will feature a pair of $12,000 paces for the highest-priced claiming horses on the grounds, four races for the American Harness Drivers Club’s amateur horsemen, and a $15,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool on races five through nine after a carryover of $3512.03 from Friday. Sunday’s racing starts at 12:40 p.m.; program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.