CHESTER PA – The two-hole trip proved to be the secret to success for many winners on a scorching Sunday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, including P L Ozzy, successful in only his second start for trainer Dylan Davis after parlaying a pocket trip into a 1:51 lifetime mark.
Montrell Teague used the rail to advantage, letting only Theflyingrock get by him early and sitting right on his back through fractions of :27.1, :56.2, and 1:23.2. When the chance to become a pocket rocket appeared along the inside in the lane, the son of Sunshine Beach didn’t let anybody steal his sunshine, finding more and coming home in :27.2 to catch Theflyingrock by 1¼ lengths. Trainer Davis also owns P L Ozzy with Michael Casalino Jr.
The $14,400 co-featured pace went to the Huntsville sophomore colt The Claw, making it two in a row by fighting to get the early lead and then holding the advantage to the wire in 1:53, 2½ lengths ahead of All The Chips. Andrew McCarthy guided the Jake Leamon trainee, who after not racing at two has now won half his ten career starts for Kenneth Klein, Michael Cimaglio, William Salmeri, and Stephen Demeter.
For the fast class pacers, there was a $13,000 event for each sex. In the section for males, Decision Day was second-over behind the dueling Blank Stare and Aflame Hanover, but since horses coming off cover were not exactly prospering on the day, driver Andrew McCarthy ducked the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding into a vacant pocket, then came along the inside to get the job done in 1:51. Bruce Saunders, the trainer of Rock N Roll Heaven, is now winning with the next generation as Decision Day boosted his bankroll to $420,695 for owner Shirley Le Vin, who has raced the seven-year-old throughout his career.
In the distaff division, Dance Club settled in behind insistent polesitting favorite Grace Rocks, tracked that one to the far turn, then moved outside and drew clear of the leader by two lengths while stepping her own last half in :55.2 to complete a 1:51.4 mile. George Napolitano Jr. drove the winner of $306,369 for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and owner Gilbert Garcia-Herrera.
Aside from the exploits recorded on the timing end of the tote board, the middle part, especially where the win prices are posted, also got a big workout on the hot day. Three $50+ bombers rewarded their scattered backers: Niall Hanover ($99.80), Tru Lou ($57.80), and Vinovio ($75.40). The last-named two, winning in consecutive races (and both winning from the two-hole), were driven by Simon Allard, and locally you’d have to go back to December 2018 to find Marcus Miller winning with two longshots in the same day, and to September of that year to find Eric Carlson posting telephone numbers in consecutive races on one card. (Allard had five victories for the day, four of them after pocket journeys.)
When Harrah’s Philadelphia presents its next card Wednesday at 12:25, there will be a $40,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-5 bet on races five through nine; the wager was not hit for the third straight card on Sunday, with the $9762.08 carryover money helping generate the decision to offer the lucrative guaranteed pool. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.