CHESTER PA – Driver Tony Morgan, second on the all-time North American list of winningest drivers, achieved the 17,000th victory of his sulky career in the first race at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.
Driving 14-1 shot Commander Hill, Morgan got his horse away third, stayed inside, then got room up the inside as Ain’t It Fun vacated the two-hole headstretch to challenge and then pass leading Northern Baccarat. The race boiled down to Ain’t It Fun and Commander Hill, and Morgan’s horse appeared to have a slight advantage when Ain’t It Fun went offstride just before the wire, ending that one’s chances and allowing for the milestone moment.
The 63-year-old Morgan achieved his 17,000th win in his 84,890th drive, giving him a win percentage just over 20% in a career that started in 1974. Morgan-driven horses have earned in excess of $139 million over the years.
Dave Palone is the all-time leader with 19,924 driving successes. So Pennsylvania has the two winningest drivers at the opposite ends of the state, as Palone has dominated the colony at The Meadows for several decades now.
The Sunday racing card at Philly was headlined by a pair of $16,200 handicap paces, one for each sex. The event for males saw the 1-5 Vettel N go for his fifth straight victory from his assigned post eight, but after fractions of :26.3, :55, and 1:23, he couldn’t make his lead last against the Rock N Roll Heaven gelding Lyons Steel, who drove up the inside from the pocket to get a neck advantage in 1:49.4 – the quickest clocking of 2022 locally, and the fifth race of the day during which the Philly seasonal standard was beaten or tied. Simon Allard engineered the 6-1 mini-upset with the winner of $572,914 for trainer Dennis Watson and BD Racing LLC.
The co-feature for distaffs was taken by Rockn Philly, moving up the inside late from the two-hole to be 1½ lengths ahead of the closing Crazy Cute in 1:51; pacesetting favorite Annabelle Hanover was photoed for the deuce. The victorious daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, now a winner of $512,241, was driven by Andrew McCarthy for trainer Noel Daley and Morrison Racing Stables.
Tim Tetrick and Andrew McCarthy both had three winners on the afternoon, solidifying their 1-2 positioning among the Harrah’s drivers: Tetrick currently enjoys a 22-18 edge.
Racing resumes at Harrah’s Philly on Thursday at 12:25, with top-class trotters featured throughout the card. Program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.