CHESTER PA – All three feature races at Harrah’s Philadelphia went in 1:50.2 on a seasonably-mild Friday afternoon, and the richest for his efforts was Pat McGarry A, who topped the top fast-class horses in a $16,200 handicap pace.
Joe Bongiorno hustled the winning Million Dollar Cam gelding away quickly then yielded to Lyons Steel, who had a three-race win streak interrupted by Lou’s Pearlman winning here last Friday in 1:49.1. Lyons Steel cleared to command by a :27 quarter and put up midfractions of :55.2 and 1:22.3, with Shadow Cat joining the frontenders by launching uncovered down the backstretch.
Turning for home Lyons Steel still held the lead, but Pat McGarry A got clearance along the inside, and despite a three-week absence proved the best of a competitive group with a 1¾ length victory over the pacesetter. The winner has now captured four of his last five starts (and paced a :25.4 third quarter raw in his lone defeat) for trainer/sister Jenn Bongiorno and M T Stables Ontario Inc.
Trendy Teen is also a winner of four of his last five races after taking his division of the $15,300 co-featured paces. The Always B Miki sophomore gelding was looped while wide early and did not take over until past the :27 opener, but from there he was in little peril, putting up fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.1 then drawing off by 4¾ lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Per Engblom, and owner Brian Gordon.
The other section of the co-featured pace was won by P L Ozzy, a son of Sunshine Beach who dashed out to early command and widened his margin through fractions of :26.1, :55.1, and 1:22.4 en route to a three length decision. Montrell Teague guided P L Ozzy for trainer Dylan Davis, the latter also co-owner with Michael Casalino Jr.
Six different drivers won twice during Friday’s action at Philly: Joe Bongiorno, Corey Callahan, Russell Foster, Montrell Teague, Tim Tetrick, and Simon Allard. Simon would normally be listed first in traditional alphabetic ordering, but we saved him for last to bridge into this amazing statistic: Friday was the eighth straight card at Philly that Allard has been either top driver or co-top driver of the day, which may be some sort of wider-reaching record. During this span, Allard has gotten home first 28 times at the riverside oval.
When racing resumes on Sunday at 12:40, the card will feature two divisions of the John Simpson Sr. stakes series, in honor of the late Hall Of Fame horseman and executive, with every stake carrying a subname of a horse with whom Simpson was associated: Sunday’s two-year-old pacing colt event is called the Bret Hanover. The Simpson stakes will be featured throughout the next two weeks at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Program pages are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.