Despite a short period of heavy rain shortly before 9 a.m. on Thursday, the half-mile oval at the Delaware, Ohio, fairgrounds was listed "fast" two hours later when the first of a marathon 23-race program got underway, although still under cool and cloudy conditions.
The first stakes event on the card was the $51,944 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters, which was won by Sumatra in 1:58.3. That was followed up shortly later with a 1:52.2 stakes record, track record and world record score by On Golden Ponder in the $52,544 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers.
On Sept. 1, On Golden Ponder made a break and was never in contention in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final, an effort that was followed up by a seventh-place finish in a Champlain split at Mohawk. Trainer and co-owner Bob McIntosh had On Golden Ponder ready for the Standardbred as he was an easy winner while lowering the previous world mark for first-year freshman colts on a half-mile track by two-fifths of a second.
John Campbell sat fourth with On Golden Ponder but moved his charge to the outside heading down the backstretch the second time. On Golden Ponder rushed to the lead and opened up clear daylight over the field, and that left eventual runner-up Totally Kissed and Montrell Teague to only chase futilely. Favorite He's Got It and driver David Miller, who had set the early fractions, settled for third.
Robert McIntosh Stables, CSX Stables and Michael Kohler share ownership of On Golden Ponder. The son of Ponder won for the fourth time in seven starts, increasing his earnings to more than $55,000.
As for the Andy Miller-driven Sumatra, he settled in second but was rushed to the lead past the opening quarter and led the rest of the distance to post his fifth win in nine starts. Epic Ranger and Corey Callahan finished second, with Gangio and Yannick Gingras third.
Trained by Julie Miller, the winning son of Muscles Yankee is owned by Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing. The victory brought his career earnings to just shy of $90,000. Included among his previous scores are divisions of the Historic, Arden Downs and Kindergarten Series.
The $50,143 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers had two winners as Sister Stroll (Yannick Gingras) and Lucy's Pearl (Matt Kakaley) couldn't be separated in a photo finish in a mile clocked in 1:54.3. Fits Well (David Miller) was third.
Brian Brown trains Sister Stroll, a daughter of Art Official, for owners Jennifer Brown, Strollin Stable and King McNamara. The win was her fifth in 10 starts. Ron Gurfein is the conditioner of Lucy's Pearl, a daughter of Well Said, and he also shares ownership with Elizabeth Novak. The winwas her fifth in eight starts this year.