CHESTER PA – Ruthless Hanover served notice to the national free-for-all pacing class that he may be ready for them right now after winning his seasonal debut, a $20,000 Open handicap Friday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia, in 1:49.2, the fastest mile in eastern Pennsylvania this season.
George Napolitano Jr. got the Somebeachsomewhere gelding away third from the outside slot seven as Baba O’Riley streaked away from the pole in :26 as Colossal Stride A grabbed the early pocket, then moved with “Ruthless” off the first turn to the lead and got a breather to the :55.3 half. The price of pacing increased to :26.2 as Ruthless Hanover had all but Baba O’Riley strung out behind him to the 1:22 three-quarters, and that rival gave game chase home, but Ruthless was in control late in a :27.2 kicker while winning by a length.
This was actually Ruthless Hanover’s fifth win in a row, but the other four had come in early fall before he was spelled. After a 1:50 qualifier and then this mile, bigger things seem to be in his immediate future for Team Cancelliere, trainer Tom and owner/brother John.
Kickupyaheels made it two straight in Philly’s top class for top distaffs, winning this week’s $20,000 handicap pace in 1:51.3. Joe Bongiorno worked out a pocket trip behind Feeling Sweet as she set fractions of :27, :56.2, and 1:23.3, then went to the inside and caught the stubborn leader by three parts of a length. Chris Choate conditions the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance for owner Timothy Drag.
The younger horses were featured in a $15,300 pacing contest won by the Fear The Dragon gelding Fearful Intent in 1:51. Simon Allard wanted the engine with the winner of four of his last six, putting up early splits of :27.2 and :56.2, then put in a :26.1 third quarter blitz to reach that pole in 1:22.3 with a big lead. Dreaming Of Lou came on well late but Fearful Intent got the job done for trainer Jeff Cullipher, top trainer at Philly thus far in the young season, and Pollack Racing LLC.
Simon Allard led the drivers with four victories, all of them on the front end on the hot day.
Trotters will be in the spotlight at Philly throughout Sunday’s 12:40 card, with featured contests for both veteran fast-class stock and up-and-coming horses. Program pages for all Philly cards are or will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.