CHESTER PA -- A rank outsider and a heavy favorite won the two divisions of the $86,800 Albatross, the John Simpson Sr. Memorial stake for three-year-old pacing males, at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon.
The racing week opened with a 30-1 shot in the very first race both last Thursday and this: Rocknroll Gold, a gelded son of A Rocknroll Dance, was able to utilize the rail to sit in the pocket behind Bloodhound’s fractions of :26.2, :54.2, and 1:21.4, then came up the inside for driver Art Stafford Jr. and caught the pacesetter by 1¼ lengths in a new mark of 1:50.4; favored Pleaseletmeknow, the NYSS champion, never got going and finished fourth. Rocknroll Gold, a winner of $147,972, is trained by Ed Gannon Jr. for Zippett Racing Stable.
Chalkplayers were rewarded for their 1-5 support of the Captaintreacherous gelding Energetic Hanover, who had rewritten his mark to 1:50 in winning his last start, and then lowered it again by a tick here. Energetic Hanover laid off fractions of :26.3 and :55.1 set by Layton Hanover, moved uncovered to challenge that one by the 1:22.3 three-quarters, then continued on strongly in the lane to leave the pacesetter 3½ lengths in arrears at the wire. Todd McCarthy drove the winner, unraced at two but now an earner of $164,139 for trainer Brett Pelling and owner David Mc Duffee, Melvin Hartman, Steven Arnold, and Paul Bordogna.
The $22,500 fast-class handicap trot fell to Hillexotic, a Muscle Hill gelding who went to the top from the outside post six and rattled off fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:24 before finishing an in-hand 1¼ lengths winner over Gangster Hanover in 1:53. The five-year-old is 16-for-47 lifetime with earnings of $606,295 for trainer Ron Burke; he is owned by the Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC partnership along with Phil Collura.
Hillexotic was driven by Simon Allard, who left it until rather late in the day to preserve an extraordinary Harrah’s Philly streak he is currently on. Through thirteen races, only Corey Callahan has won as many as two races, but Allard tied him with Hillexotic and then captured the fifteenth and last with $30.00 pocket rocket Ding Ding Ringer. Allard has now been the top driver or co-top driver of the day at Philly in an incredible twelve of the last thirteen cards here, in this roll racking up 42 victories in this period.
Simpson Stakes action continues Friday at Philly with the Ayres, an event for three-year-old trotting males carrying a purse of $93,800; there is also a highly-competitive $22,500 handicap event for the best of the fast-class pacers. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.