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Despite layoff, American Girl wins at Miami

January 16, 2016
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 Despite a four-week respite from the racing wars, American Girl came all dolled up for the $20,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Miami Valley on Friday night and came away with a narrow victory over a sloppy track.  Her successful 2016 debut was American Girl's 29th career triumph and upped the seven-year-old daughter of Art's Chip's lifetime bounty to almost $600,000.  Tyler George conditions the winner for owners Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt.  American Girl took full advantage of the pole post position as driver Trace Tetrick let only outside leaver Nutmegs Yankee (Chris Page) beat him to the :27.3 quarter pole before retaking prior to the :56.3 halfway point.  Following a contested third quarter, reached in 1:25.1, the victress had just enough left to hold off a cavalcade of closers in the stretch.  The top five finishers were all within one length of the winner, who was followed through the wire by Feel Like Dancing (Andy Shetler), Cast No Shadow (Tyler Smith), Western Empress (Jeremy Smith) and Nutmegs Yankee.   
    A pair of Claim To Fame series splits also saw first leg action on the Friday program.  Two divisions of $20,000 claiming mares went postward, as well as five full fields of male $8000 claimers.  A total of eleven horses changed hands at the claim box during the first leg action, including ten of the 50 $8000 horses and geldings.  Base claiming tags increase 20% in the second round of the competitions.
   Pipecreek Star (Jeremy Smith) was a 1:57.3 winner in one of the two mares divisions, each chasing a $17,500 purse; while Art I Sweet (Ken Holliday) was victorious in the second split, clocked in a much quicker 1:55.4.
   Winning $8000 males were Concert Ticket (John De Long, 1:55.4, $38.60 to win), Cams Good Fortune (Jeremy Smith, 1:57.1, $17.60), E R Truevalue (Jeremy Smith, 1:57, $17.80), Holy Chip (John De Long, 1:55.4, $8.80), and Fox Valley Mahalo (Trace Tetrick, 1:56.3, $9.60).
   De Long had the hottest hands on the card, scoring a 'Grand Slam' behind trotter Above The Law (2:01.1, $65.20), As Seely Promised (1:57.3, $9.00) and the aforementioned Concert Ticket and Holy Chip. (Miami Valley)
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