After being hampered by outside post positions the past four weeks in the $10,500 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway, Western Alumni finally got the rail. While it may have been foreign territory, he took advantage of it and posted a nose win over a fast-charging Best Ears and What The Sheik in 1:55.1 Saturday night (June 21).
In the co-featured $24,750 Spring Break Claiming Pacing Series, The Awful Truth rallied late to score the win in 1:57.3 over Always An Optimist.
Western Alumni ($5.50) has been in the six post or further out but finally drew inside to the pylons. Driver Jim McNeight sent the 6-year-old gelding right to the top and played 'catch me if you can.' Putting up easy fractions of 29.1, 58.2 and 1:26.4, Western Alumni knew the battles were coming in the stretch.
Best Ears (Shawn McDonough) and What The Sheik (David McNeight III) took their best shots in the drive for the wire but Western Alumni had just enough in the tank to hold on for the nose victory.
Owned by North Creek Racing LLC and trained by Jerry Nugent Jr., it was the fourth win in 17 tries for Western Alumni (Western Hanover-Countryview Miss). The victory increased his earnings to $33,150 in 2014 and $174,879 lifetime.
The Awful Truth has turned out to be quite a $4,000 claim for owner/trainer Priscilla Mooney. Back on May 3rd of this season, Mooney claimed the 9-year-old gelding and he's responded sensationally with two wins and three second place finishes in six starts including the victory in the $24,750 Spring Break Claiming Pacing Series finale.
Sitting fifth at the start, The Awful Truth ($5.90) and Buffalo Raceway leading driver Kevin Cummings, followed live cover to the three-quarter and powered himself three-wide in the lane to overtake the pace-setting Always An Optimist (Jack Flanigen) in 1:57.3 over the fast track. FB Seelster (Shawn McDonough) finished in third.
It was the third win in 19 appearances this season for The Awful Truth (Western Hanover-Game Bunny) and increased his 2014 earnings to $24,991 and $371.277 lifetime.
In the $10,000 Spring Break Claiming Series consolation race, Pembroke Crankcall ($6.90) rallied in the stretch and snagged the victory in 1:58.1. Cummings drove the winner for owner/trainer Rachael Mungillo.
Racing will continue at Buffalo Raceway on Sunday afternoon when an 12-race program heads to the starting gate at 1:05 p.m. For more information including upcoming promotions, results, race replays and the latest news, go to http://www.buffaloraceway.com/ (by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway)