Thus far Monticello Raceway's Name Your Price Claiming Series hasn't lived up to its unique possibility, that being the $4,000 claimers initially entered for leg one all raced for that same claiming tag in round two. All had the option of adding another $1,000 to the claiming price, permitted in the second round by the series rules, but no one took advantage of that possibility in the three preliminary series legs contested on a foggy Monday afternoon.
Of the three winners in the first round only one, Tracy's Song, was victorious in round two despite having to start on the far outside from post seven. First-round winner Pot Limit finished fourth in her division on Monday and first-round winner Romi Mystic also was fourth in her split in round two.
Tracy's Song is the early favorite in the series finale to be raced on Monday, Feb. 25, after the third preliminaries are contested on Feb. 18. Still, Tracy's Song makes a good argument for her being the mare to beat in the series since the 8-year-old daughter of Astreos has now strung together four consecutive victories.
Owned by Nancy Fugere of Westbrookville, N.Y., Tracys Song ($4.70) was driven to a 1:59 victory by Bruce Aldrich Jr. for trainer Bob Lounsbury.
Aldrich gunned the mare to the front making the top by the quarter pole and then got first call at every stanza en route to a one-length triumph over Fortunes Smile, driven by Kyle DiBenedetto. In spite of the muddy track Tracy's Song's 1:59 victory is currently her season's best.
Last week the Danny Gill-trained Romi Mystic was victorious and Gill showed up again when his pupil, Nutmegs Desire ($5.30), held on for a head triumph for Jimmy Marohn Jr. holding off Sixth Sense and driver Mike Forte. Irving Bork, of Ellington, Conn, owns the 5-year-old Real Desire mare who scored her first seasonal victory.
After finishing second last week in the series Winsmith Molly ($7.70) and driver Jimmy Taggart Jr. made every pole a winning one as the 6-year-old Badlands Hanover mare scored a one-length triumph over Pembroke Boogie (Alan Schwartz) in a 1:58.4 clocking. Trained by Gary Messenger, the mare is owned by Dr. Scott Woogen, Brenda Messenger and Phil Shapiro. (Monticello)