Sustaining a first-over push to wear down odds-on favorite Money On My Mind, Twin B Spike Man ($30.20) proved an upset winner in Saturday (Aug.16) evening's $15,000 Open Handicap Trot at Tioga Downs.
As expected, Jim Marohn, Jr. sent 1-5 favorite Money On My Mind to the fore, controlling a :56.4 first half mile before facing pressure into the far turn. After reaching three-quarters in 1:25.2, Money On My Mind found himself bracing for the oncoming onslaught of the first-over Twin B Spike Man, who pushed to the fore at head-stretch. With the favorite fading at the pegs, Twin B Spike Man was left to contend with a chasing Spice It Up Lindy (Jim Meittinis) in the final yards, holding sway for a half-length victory in 1:54.2. Stitch in Time (Brandon Simpson) stayed on well for third off a pocket trip.
Co-owner Mike Simons drove the seven-year-old Ken Warkentin gelding for trainer Gail Wrubel. Donald Eccleston and Albert Abdala, III also share ownership of Twin B Spike Man. The win was one of three on the night for Simons, who also teamed up with Highland Yankee (1:56.3) and Magglio (1:56.3).
On what turned into a rainy, sloppy night at Vernon Downs, Royalist was a front-running winner in Leg 2 of the Racing Under Saddle Series. Royalist (Rc Royalty-Chocolatto Chip) was sent right to the front from the outside post by Michelle Crawford and the colt never looked back. He led through fractions of :29.1 for the quarter, 1:02 for the half, and 1:33.1 for three-quarters. A challenge did materialize from Blue Boy Yankee (Kristina Smith), who pestered the leader throughout the final quarter mile, but could never quite get by. The final time for the mile was 2:04.3.
The complete order of finish was: Royalist, Blue Boy Yankee, John-Michael, Vassar Hall, My Irish Molly, and Kash Now. Royalist is owned by Raymond W.J. Campbell Jr. of Belchertown, Massachusetts and trained by George Ducharme. The top point getters from the first two legs of the Racing Under Saddle Series at Vernon Downs will return for the $5,000 Final on August 29.
The featured pari-mutuel race of the Saturday evening at Vernon Downs was the $6,500 seventh race. The winner was Moonlight Ransom (Artiscape-Windsun Caprice), driven by John Macdonald. This was the second win in a week for Moonlight Ransom.
In similar fashion to the win on August 9, Moonlight Ransom was a gate-to-wire winner. He led through snappy fractions over a sloppy track of :26.2 for the quarter, :56 for the half, and 1:25.1 for three-quarters. The final time was 1:53. Market Force (Jimmy Whittemore) was forced four-wide at the top of the stretch and still managed to charge through the lane and win a close photo for second place. Oh My Joepa (Claude Huckabone III) finished third. (Tioga & Vernon)