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French trotter Ubanji wins debut in Philly

July 25, 2018
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A pair of $16,000 conditioned events, one on each gait, were featured on the Wednesday afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia.
 
The trotters were up first, and the Explosive Matter gelding Major Impact lowered his mark to 1:55.2 in winning by 1 1/4 lengths over pacesetting favorite Scirocco Imsosmart. Victor Kirby rated his charge third inside then moved out late on the turn as the first-over faded, with the winner coming home well under confident handling for trainer Robert Baggitt Jr. and owner Christine Baggitt.
 
In the pace, the Western Ideal gelding Palomar had driver Tim Tetrick help him snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat while taking a new mark of 1:52. Palomar had tucked fourth from the outside post eight, then moved out behind cover at the three-quarters, and was gaining when he put in a few funky steps midturn. But Tetrick quickly got him back on target, and Palomar rallied to catch Aleppo Hanover right on the money by a nose for trainer Jim King Jr. and the Paton Racing Stables Inc.
 
Ubanji, one of the "French Foreign Legion" of trotters imported from that country to try their luck on U.S. shores, was ready at first asking, going a strong mile on the engine while stopping the timer in 1:55.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Ed Gannon Jr., and owner Frank Canzone. The 10-year-old altered son of Jag De Bellouet came over to these shores with lifetime earnings of $320,696 and qualified second, and the local fans picked up on him right away as he paid $3.60 after his 1 1/4-length triumph. (Harrah's Philadelphia/PHHA)
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