Cherokee Hiflyzane last to first at Plainridge
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A driving rain and cold temperatures provided a miserable day to race at Plainridge Park, but Cherokee Hiflyzane went from worst to first and captured the $14,000 Plainridge Special pacing feature in impressive style on Monday afternoon.
Cherokee Hiflyzane (Mike Stevenson) got away a distant last off the gate while SB Mike’s Hot Beach (Shawn Gray) barked the marching orders on the front end. After a fast :27 first split and pedestrian :29 second, Rooster Rabbit (Mike Eaton) pulled first-up to challenge and brought Cherokee Hiflyzane with him. The pair continued to advance on the rim but the leader was still not in reach.
At the three-quarter pole, SB Mike’s Hot Beach opened up a three-length lead and Rooster Rabbit was done. So Cherokee Hiflyzane tipped three deep around him in the last turn and had a lot of ground to make up. As the race headed into the stretch, Gray was driving SB Mike’s Hot Beach hard, trying to keep him alive while Stevenson was sitting chilly behind Cherokee Hiflyzane who was flying down the lane and paced right by the leader to win by a length in 1:53.
It was a career high eighth win of the year for Cherokee Hiflyzane ($3.20) who has also set career bests in 2017 for earnings ($72,280) and mark (1:51.4). The 5-year-old gelded son of World of Rocknroll is owned by Roger Farrar II and Barrie Farrar, who also does the training.
In the co-featured $12,000 conditioned pace, BP Diet Food (Mike Stevenson) was happy to cut the mile and had no problem initiating that task from post two. With the field single file behind him, Stevenson went a moderate :27.1 and :56.2 with a good hold on the leader. No one really challenged until past the five-eighths when Cam’s Lucky Sam (Greg Merton) popped out of the three-hole and made a weak bid to advance, but couldn’t even draw even with the pocket-sitting Western Victory (Wally Watson).
At the top of the lane BP Diet Food was looking vulnerable as the field he was trying to shake in the :28.2 third quarter had caught up and was now bearing down. Western Victory found room by the pylons and was making up ground quickly while Cam’s Lucky Sam was outside catching a second wind. Behind them, the rest of the field continued to get closer. Nonetheless BP Diet Food dug down deep and hung on to claim victory by a neck in 1:54.1 as six of the seven horses in the race crossed the wire within one length of each other in a blanket finish.
It was the seventh win of the year for BP Diet Food ($6.60), six of which were at Plainridge Park. Owned by Chris Wescott and trained by Ken Secord, BP Diet Food has had a career year for wins (7), money earned ($29,849) and lifetime mark (1:51.1).
Shawn Gray led all drivers on Monday with three wins on the card. (Plainridge)