Lindy Racing head trainer Domenico Cecere brought a group of their prospects from the farm's Somers, Conn. base for some early-season work. At the end of the day, Cecere trainees captured the pair of $10,000 conditioned trotting events at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon.
In the first feature, Kinda Lucky Lindy (Greg Merton) got away second and sat the pocket behind On First (Mark Athearn) to the half when the outer flow eventually locked him in moving to the three-quarters. Leading that rim-rush was Now’s The Moment (Mike Stevenson), who cleared and opened up a four-length advantage.
Still looking for racing room and seemingly out of it around the last turn, Kinda Lucky Lindy got a break when Pirate (Ivan Davies) made a break, clearing the way for Merton to pull his charge around the fading On First and set dead aim on the leader. With a lot of ground to make up in the last eighth of a mile, Kinda Lucky Lindy went to work and trotted like the wind under a mere hand drive by Merton, closing the gap with every stride to win by a length in 1:55.4, which was a new lifetime mark.
After starts in the New York Sire Stakes and elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic, Kinda Lucky Lindy ($9.60) scored his first victory of 2018 for owner Lindy Farms of Connecticut.
The second $10,000 event saw French Moni (Patrizio Ancora) get away third off the gate before making an early move for the front at the quarter. Once there, he led the rest of the way. As they passed the half in :58.1, One Swan For All (Wally Watson) came barreling up the outside and drew within a neck of French Moni by the three-quarters. But Ancora sped up that third panel to :28 and quenched the threat of One Swan For All.
In command by two heading off the last turn, French Moni had one more bid to put away, as the pocket-sitting L Dees Yoyo Ma made a late lunge at the leader, but the attempt was too little and too late. Ancora had French Moni all but wrapped up and across the wire an easy winner in 1:55.3.
It was the second win of the year for French Moni ($5.20), both of which were registered at Plainridge Park. The Moni Maker Stable owns the 4-year-old son of Love You.
At the end of the day, Cecere had a training hat trick, as he also took the first race with the Greg Merton-driven Shortie Joe ($2.20), who won his second in a row. The 1:56.4 clocking was also a new lifetime mark for the Fred Monteleone Stable LLC-owned 3-year-old Chapter Seven colt.
Greg Merton was Thursday's winningest driver, with three trips to the circle. (Standardbred Owners of Mass.)