After a pair of narrow misses, Aaron Byron brushed early with Fireyourguns ($3.80) in Monday (June 2) evening's featured $14,000 Open Handicap Pace at Tioga Downs, never looking back en route to a 5-1/4 length victory.
Just off the flank of the pocket-sitting Golden Gun (John Cummings, Jr.) on the first turn, the five-year-old American Ideal gelding stalked Prairie Jaguar (Jim Marohn, Jr.) through a :27.1 first quarter before pushing to the fore. With a circuit to go, Fireyourguns was able to clear the front, but maintained a hot pace through a :54.2 half mile while Prairie Jaguar maintained a close tracking trip from the pocket. On the backstretch, Fireyourguns accelerated well clear of the others, extending his lead gradually en route to a powerful 1:50 victory. Prairie Jaguar held second, while Life Up Front (Bruce Aldrich, Jr.) sustained a gradual bid to take third.
Fireyourguns, owned by Jennifer and Robert Lowe in partnership with trainer Terence McClory, took a new lifetime mark in his fifth win of 2014.
Live racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Friday (June 6) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.
At Harrington Raceway on Monday night, John Dayton's Just A Jolt ($4, Victor Kirby) equaled his own track record for 4-year-old pacing geldings with a 1:50.3 triumph in the $17,000 Open Pace Monday.
The Village Jolt gelding, an even-money favorite, received a pocket trip behind pacesetter Teresa's Beach, who fired out from his rail post position, through fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:23:1. Just A Jolt tipped to the outside and blitzed by the pacesetter in mid stretch to record his ninth win of the year for trainer Jim King Jr. His seasonal earnings surpassed the $100,000 mark with the victory. Teresa's Beach was second while Poker Hat finished third.
It was one of four driving wins for Kirby, who set and equaled track records for consecutive nights, after shattering the 3-year-old trotting filly mark on Sunday with his own stabled trotter, Please Okay (1:57). George Dennis and Allan Davis each had driving doubles.
At The Meadows, Certified Ideal nevertheless had the most pop when it counted as she captured Monday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace.
Certified Ideal seized the point in a demanding :26.4 before being shuffled to third, then came first over for Tony Hall after the leader, Foxy Lady. But the 4-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Areba's Last remained strong late, clicking off the last quarter in 28.3 and scoring in 1:51.4. Foxy Lady saved place, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Do Me Honor third.
Randy Bendis trains Certified Ideal, who soared over $200,000 in career earnings, and owns with Mike Novosel Jr., Tom Pollack and James Walton. (Tioga, Harrington, The Meadows)