Divas Image impressive winner in Philly feature
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Driver Tony Morgan and trainer Jennifer Bongiorno combined on their third win of the program as the Bettor's Delight mare Divas Image closed stoutly midtrack to take the $18,000 feature for pacing mares in 1:52.2 during a special Friday night card at Harrah's Philadelphia.
Morgan kept the winner, who pushed her career earnings to $604,627, next-to-last in the field of seven early as several horses traded the front spot in the field, then moved with cover down the backstretch. The 2-5 favorite was looking good as she tipped wide the stretch battle, and the mare showed her class by coming home powerfully to hold off the horse on her back and the longest shot in the field, 42-1 Slick Artist A, by 1½ lengths for the partnership of Joseph Bongiorno LLC, Howard Taylor, Thomas Lazzaro, and J&T Silva Stables LLC.
Morgan went on to win the last race on the card to end the night as leading driver with his four victories.
There were also a pair of $16,000 co-featured events for class-climbing younger horses. In the pacing mares division, Delightful Feather finally surrendered the lead to favored Money Shot Hanover in front of the stands, and then the pair saw Odds On Clearwater make a fast brush on the backstretch to the front. The early rivals came after the stretch leader – Money Shot Hanover to her inside, Delightful Feather to her right – and it was the Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Feather get the decision in 1:53.2, with Money Shot Hanover ¾ of a length behind the winner and 2½ lengths ahead of Odds On Clearwater. George Napolitano Jr. guided the winner for the brother team of trainer Thomas and owner John Cancelliere.
In the trot, Oberto moved up uncovered on the far turn to the lead, then had to brace for what looked to be a tough stretch challenge from Gaareat Gazoo on his back. But that foe had some late steering problems, and the Yankee Glide sophomore gelding Oberto fended him off by a neck in 1:57.1 for driver Pat Berry, trainer Jeff Weiner, and owners Thomas and Pamela Herbst Maloney. (Ms. Maloney's middle name, which translates from German to "fall," was appropriate for this evening card, which saw the temperatures fall into the 50s as autumn starts to take a grip on the local weather.)