CHESTER PA – Betsy Ross Pace champion Max Contract continued to show her ability, winning the $20,000 Open handicap distaff pacing feature at Harrah’s Philadelphia Friday afternoon in 1:49.3 over a track that had just been upgraded from “sloppy” to “good.”
The daughter of Huntsville left between horses and chose to settle in third early as first Majorca N and then Boudoir Hanover went to the lead in a :26.3 opener, then rushed to the top for Andy Miller and settled on the lead well before the half in :54.1. The three-quarters went by in 1:22.3 as Boudoir Hanover remained in the pocket and Always B First attacked first-over, but neither were the equal of Max Contract and her :27 last quarter, with Boudoir Hanover closest to the winner at the finish, three-quarters of a length behind, with Always B First another two lengths back.
The victory was the third of the year in four starts and tenth in sixteen lifetime outings for Max Contract, who was making her first start since winning the Betsy Ross here on May 28. The Julie Miller trainee now has lifetime earnings of $354,639 for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Jean Goehlen.
Another pacing mare beating 1:50 was the Always A Virgin mare Always Gonna B You, who took a new mark of 1:49.4 (“fast” surface) while boosting her lifetime bankroll to $406,567 for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Roll The Dice Stable and Val D’Or Farms. It was a green-and-yellow stretch battle as pacesetting favorite Wine N Dine Me (Tim Tetrick) tried to resist the closing Always Gonna B You (Corey Callahan), with the latter mare getting the nod by a half-length.
Todd McCarthy led the Philly drivers on the afternoon with three triumphs.
The racing week closes at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday with a 12:40 card. Featured will be a $20,000 Open handicap pace, with the assignment of the outside in the field of six going to Southwind Gendry, who won his last start right at Philly in 1:47.2 – the fastest mile ever at Philly, or at least for 79 minutes until Ruthless Hanover lowered the standard to 1:46.3. There will also be a carryover of $1687.45 on the Pick-5 wager on races five through nine. Program pages for all races at Harrah’s Philadelphia are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.