CHESTER PA – The Cantab Hall gelding Mississippi Storm was given a top trip from post seven by driver Pat Berry and went on to win the $14,400 featured trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia Thursday afternoon in 1:53.4.
Figuring his odds would not be good in sitting next-to-last in the eight-horse field early, Berry got some early speed out of the Tom Fanning trainee and tucked in fifth as Vic’s Winner went to the lead before the :28.1 quarter, only to be replaced on top by the favored Max, who got the field to the half in :56.4.
The Explosive Matters gelding Innisfallen and driver Vinnie Ginsburg used aggressive tactics in winning the $12,800 co-feature in 1:54.1. Innisfallen went to the lead, surrendered it briefly to Big Nudge, then reclaimed the top before frontward-bound Sheer Muscle could pin him in. The pacesetter refused to yield to the outside challenger, got a big lead when the first-over broke and the pocket horse gapped going towards the final turn, and won handily for trainer Paul Fusco, who is also co-owner with Bramdeo Singh. Ginsburg and Fusco came back in the very next race for a win with the trotter Zlatan, named after the star football (soccer to “Yanks”) player.
Fastest diamondgaited winner on the “Trottin’ Thursday” card at Harrah’s was the Broadway Hall mare Broadway Athena, who lowered her mark to 1:53 in a $10,000 event. “Athena” spent the mile on the outside, much of it uncovered trying to reach runaway pacesetter Sylvesteramericait, but the six-year-old distaff collared the pacesetter turning into the stretch and led him home by 3¾ lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr. (a six-time winner on the card) and trainer/owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen.
$150,000 worth of Liberty Bell stakes series action for three-year-old fillies of both gaits will highlight the Friday racing at Philly, with the likes of Rocknificent and Next Level Stuff among the entrants.