CHESTER PA – Race favorite Melady’s Monet might have had earnings that were $1,951,861 greater than second choice Skyway Bebop at the start of the year, but the “upstart Queen Of The Hill” Thursday at Harrah’s Philadelphia was Skyway Bebop, who motored to her sixth straight victory in the featured $22,500 handicap trot.
Driver Tony Morgan got away fourth with the five-year-old daughter of Guccio, but soon after the :27.1 opening quarter he had her in high gear to take over command going past the stands, reaching the half in :55.3 and hitting the three-quarters in 1:23.2. No one really threatened Skyway Bebop in the stretch as she won by 2¼ lengths in 1:52.1, a lifetime mark and only 3/5 of a second of the divisional track record set 51 weeks ago by Manchego. Scirocco Rob sat the pocket to be second, with first-over Swan In Motion third and Melady’s Monet fourth from second-over on a track never very kind to closers.
One horse certainly glad to see Skyway Bebop take a jump in class was the Swan For All gelding Big Bad Swan, who had finished second to her the last three weeks. In the $15,300 co-featured trot, Tim Tetrick sent the “Swan” through fractions of :27.4, :57, and 1:25.1 before posting a new mark of 1:54.4 as he boosted his earnings to $107,172 lifetime for trainer Scott Di Domenico and the partnership of Triple D Stables Inc. and Betty Jo Clegg.
Biggest winner of the day in the horseman’s colony was trainer Per Engblom, who sent out four winning charges while spreading the sulky work around – Andrew McCarthy had two wins, while Todd McCarthy and David Miller each had one for Engblom. The quadruple sends Engblom to a tie for second in the local standings, even with Scott Di Domenico at 10 and trailing only Gilbert Garcia-Owen, whose 14 include a double Thursday.
Friday’s Philly card brings a $5000 guaranteed pool in each of the Pick 4 pools, which begin in races one and ten, in cooperation with the U.S. Trotting Association Strategic Wagering initiative. There will also be a $14,400 featured pace matching Camouflage Hanover and Tuggin On My Heart, who is the post position “beneficiary” for the rematch – he stays in the outside post eight, whereas his opponent moves from post six to post seven. Program pages are available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.