CHESTER PA – The Explosive Matter gelding Scirocco Rob, pressed to the max around the final turn by the first-over Max, got a big break when that one went offstride nearing headstretch, and “Rob” was able to go on to a 1:54.4 victory over a “good” track in the $17,500 trotting feature at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon.
George Napolitano Jr., who had four driving wins on the dank day, sent the Mark Silva trainee right out to command, and when Armageddon Seelster could find no first turn hole in which to tuck, he went on past the :27.3 opener to get the lead, only to see Scirocco Rob immediately reclaim the top well before the :57.2. At that point Max started his first-over grind and was giving the winner all he could handle when he lost his gait late on the turn, allowing Scirocco Rob to stay in control and tally by 3 ½ lengths over late-closing Ooh Rah. The winner, owned by Kathleen Whitaker and Lewis Whitaker Jr., now shows career earnings of $397,723.
Sumatra was handled patiently by driver David Miller through most of the $14,500 co-featured trot, then proved to have the most late in 1:55.3 victory, a neck to the good of Izoh. The Muscles Yankee gelding, trained by Tom Fanning, has amassed a lifetime bankroll of $790,172 for owner Joseph Smith.