CHESTER PA – The Muscle Hill sophomore colt Rome Pays Off, a winner of $339,484 at two including a second in the Breeders Crown, had not hit the board in four qualifiers before his seasonal debut Thursday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but his preparations may be coming along just right for the all-conquering Team Melander as he took a new mark of 1:54.2.
Trained by 2019 Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander and driven by his brother Mattias, Rome Pays Off was handled cautiously in the early part of the race, not claiming the lead until nearing the second turn. But the full brother to Marseille (ironically, Beal Final upsetter of Melander’s Trotter of the Year Greenshoe last year) was able to turn back his opposition easily in the 3½ length victory. The S R F Stable and Marcus may be doing a quick reappraisal of the three-year-old’s fitness and potential over the next couple weeks.
The Dejarmbro gelding Stormy Kroner looks like he could fit into anybody’s Open class right now as he won a fast-class trot with full authority, taking a mark of 1:51.4. The winner of $350,474 was driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Paul Stafford and owner Thomas Ceraso Jr.
Bold Goddess won a driving five-horse finish up the inside in the sixth race, paying $121.00 to win for driver Andy Miller and trainer Ken Hess Jr. This sort of lightning from the sky is not unprecedented for her – she paid $116.20 here on September 15, 2018, and although she has only five wins in seventy career starts, a $2 win bet on her in each of her races would have given you a profit of 119%!
Dancing Lew had no such history of upsets before he paid $144.60 to win in the eleventh race -- the baby had broken in his only other start for driver Montrell Teague and trainer Kelvin Switzer. This was the first occasion that Philly had seen two $100+ winners on the same card since July 13, 2016.
Though David Miller didn’t feature in any of these races, he did win five times on the Thursday Philly card to earn top honors for the day.