After two days of foggy weather in New York’s southern Catskills, three divisions of the second preliminary leg of Monticello Raceway’s Name Your Price Claiming Series for horses and geldings went to post on Wednesday afternoon, When the judges posted the official signs Haroun Hanover’s 1:56.3 effort was the fastest of the three splits. Also victorious were Nutmegs Taxi in 1:59.2 and Four Starzz Lefty in 1:58.4, both pacers from the Billy Devine stable and both driven by Pat Beeler.
The meet's leading driver, Jimmy Marohn Jr. teamed –up again with trainer Danny Gill for the 7-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding’s second win the series. Last week Haroun Hanover, a career winner of over $285,000, scored in 1:58.3, nevertheless on Wednesday the pacer’s victory was more impressive after a gate-to-wire triumph from the seven hole. He finished 1 ¼ lengths ahead of runner-up Lastcomicstanding and driver Jimmy Devaux.
Still in for the bargain price of $4,000, Haroun Hanover, owned by Ed Hall and James Hall of Connecticut, notched his fifth consecutive seasonal victory and returned a $2.80 win mutuel . He was the only repeat winner in the series Wednesday.
After finishing second, missing by just a neck last week, Nutmegs Taxi made amends when Beeler followed live cover until the top of the lane and then rallied his pacer to a short nose victory over River Waltz N and driver Kevin Switzer Jr. It was the third seasonal triumph for the Four Starzz Shark 6-year-old gelding who is owned by James Schreibeis of Florida, N.Y. Nutmeg’s Taxi paid $9.30 for win.
In the final split, Beeler and Four Starzz Lefty stalked the pacesetter Thomas John N (Mike Simons) until midway through the homestretch and then charged home to be a neck winner in 1:58.4. Thomas John N (Mike Simons) held on for second money.
Owned by the Chalky Tom Racing Stable of Ballston Spa, N.Y., the winner paid $29.80.
Although none of the owners used the option of adding another $1,000 to their horse’s claiming price in the second leg, when the final prelims are raced next Wednesday owners can enter their pacers for $4,000, $5,000 or $6,000, with the higher priced claimers drawing outside of those with a lesser price tag. (Monticello)