The 33rd racing day of the Ocean Downs meet played host to multiple divisions of the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund for 3 year olds--and what showcase the evening was. On board forThursday night's festivities, making special presentations, were members of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, as well as an appearance from Buddy Hance, the Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Maryland.
The night's races played favoritism to speed-exhibiting horses as most races were decided within the first few strides off the gate. All seven winners were first or second at the quarter pole.
In the first division, KJ's Caroline paced sharply off the wings at the beginning of the race and took no prisoners in a gate-to-wire win, in 1:57.1. The daughter of Roddys Bags Again is owned by Scott Woogen and was trained and reined to victory by John Wagner.
Next up were 3-year-old trotting fillies and Irish Sport and driver Bret Brittingham took control of the race early as Sanfran Jenny played pocket-sitter and converted that desired trip straight to the winner's circle as driver Frank Milby pulled around the far turn, winning the race in 2:02.3.
The 3-year-old colt pace was a showdown to the wire as both Firecracker Freddy and Real Impulsive used their alert, leaving styles to drive to the front and take command of the race early. Tony Morgan, driver of Real Impulsive, decided to make the winning move and sit a comfortable two-hole journey behind the prohibitive favorite, Firecracker Freddy, who was undefeated in six starts this year. As the two began to pull away from their competition the passing lane came at the right time and Real Impulsive, owned by Joe and Karen Offutt, got his nose up at the wire in 1:55.3.
Country Romance, owned by William Moffett Inc. and driven by Jonathon Roberts, used her inside post to full advantage and took command from the word "go.” The 3-year-old Giant Hit lass easily handled her competition and cruised to a nine length victory, using a final quarter of :29.3 to win in 2.03.2.
In the second division of 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, driver Steve Warrington took note of the front-stepping bias and utilized that tactic to send his charge, Rebel Soldier, a gelded son of Quik Pulse Mindale, directly to the front and into the winner's circle in a comfortable 1:56.4.
The 3-year-old Credit Winner colt Laettner, driven Frank Milby, was one of few who minded his manners in the only trotting race for colts and geldings. Staying true to his horse's love of the speed, Milby sent his pupil to the front and he added his third victory of the year -- all of which have been won on the front end. Laettner tripped the timer in a swift 2:00.3, scoring, comfortably, by six lengths. Laettner is owned by William Miller of Bluffton, S.C.
The final Maryland Standardbred Race Fund division was perhaps the most exciting as at the top of the stretch three fillies were charging hard to get to the winner's circle. In the end Art Frenzy used the passing lane and a two-hole trip to her full advantage, nipping Bonnie Ben Jamin in the final strides in 1:57.1, with Girlfriend Bash settling for third after a hard-fought attempt. Art Frenzy, owned and trained by Bill Popfinger, was driven to victory by Jonathon Roberts, giving him and fellow driver Frank Milby multiple-win efforts on the race card. (MSRF)