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Lucky Ava takes new lifetime mark in Simpson

October 11, 2018
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More than $190,000 in stakes purses were on the line as 3-year-old fillies of both gaits each contested three divisions of John Simpson Sr. stakes action on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10) at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Trotters were first to the track on the Wednesday card, and the Lucky Chucky filly Lucky Ava was first to the finish line, posting splits of :27.3, :56.4, and 1:26.2 en route to a 1-3/4 length wire-to-wire victory in a lifetime best of 1:55.1. Trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt was in the sulky for Åke Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, and the Van Camp Trotting Corporation, whose trotter has now won $382,264.

Driver Scott Zeron tucked the Chapter Seven filly Lima Novelty fourth early, then saw that become a three-tuck as a rival broke, and was content to chase longshot Winbak Noelle, who set good fractions of :27.1 and :55.4. Lima Novelty moved down the backstretch, got to the lead by the 1:24.4 three-quarters, then went on strongly through the stretch to have a 2-1/2 length advantage at the end of a 1:54.1 mile. Linda Toscano trains the winner of $278,964 for owner Ken Jacobs.

Zeron and Toscano came right back to take the final trot division with another daughter of Chapter Seven, Repentance, who crossed the wire 2-1/4 lengths to the good in 1:54.4. Once again first-over proved the winning route, as Hey Judy Judy, second choice to the winner, set fractions of :28.1, :57.2, and 1:26.1, but could not hold on against the winner the last eighth and faded. The winner, who lost a three-race win streak with an untimely break in her NYSS final, started a new winning streak while raising her bankroll to $247,327 for Diamond Creek Racing.

On the pacing side, Scuola Hanover looked the part of a 1-5 favorite, moving after a :26.2 opener to command, putting up middle numbers of :55.1 and 1:22.4, and then was clear by 2-1/4 lengths at the end of a mile in a lifetime best of 1:50.4, which was only three-fifths of a second off Put On A Show’s 2010 divisional standard for Philly. David Miller handled sulky chores behind the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance, who now has a bankroll of $207,298 for trainer Andrew Stafford, co-owner with Arthur Stafford and Thomas Ireland.

The American Ideal filly Solitary, right back on the track after winning at Freehold on Saturday, was out most of a :25.4 quarter for driver Brett Miller before getting the lead in her section. Aldine Hanover, who forced that rough quarter, came back to take command and went middle splits of :54.4 and 1:22.4, with Solitary waiting in the two-hole and favored E Dees Well Said swinging wide into the lane. Through the stretch the battle was inside (Solitary) and outside (E Dees Well Said), with Solitary taking a neck decision while reducing her mark to 1:51.2. The winner went 17 starts in 2018 before getting to the winner's circle, but now she has won three of her last four for trainer Nick Surick and the partnership of William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovic, and the J L Benson Stables Inc. while raising her bank account to $199,097.

In the final pacing cut, Alexis Faith got a tick closer to the local track record than did Scuola Hanover, as she lowered her mark to 1:50.3 while looking like a 1-20 shot should. Driver David Miller, taking two of the three pacing stakes divisions on the afternoon, kept her fourth in a five-horse field until the five-eighths, then charged up raw and came a :54.2 back half with the filly to be 3-1/4 lengths clear on the money. Speaking of money, Alexis Faith gave both her sire American Ideal and her dam Cannae Cammie a new $500,000 credit as she pushed her earnings lifetime to $502,001 for trainer Casie Coleman and the ownership quartet of West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, J. Robert Darrow, and Kevin McKinlay. (PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)

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