It may have been 117 days since driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera were crowned tops in their respective categories for 2017 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but on Friday’s (April 13) opening card of the 2018 season, the duo combined to win the two featured races as an evening session kicked off the year.
In the $18,000 featured pace for distaffs, Napolitano and Garcia-Herrera combined with the Gotta Go Cullect mare Taketothesky N as the Kiwi import took a North American mark of 1:53. Napolitano had the mare well-placed behind live cover, then tipped her wide and came from fifth at the stretch call, despite a good-sized wind up the lane, to catch pacesetting Juxta Cowgirl for owner/trainer Garcia-Herrera.
Trainer Garcia-Herrera is also the owner of the Sportswriter mare Windy Sport, whom Napolitano moved to the lead at the quarter, then urged home to withstand the late burst of Lil Miss Gorgeous in 1:52.3 to take the $16,000 co-featured pace. Both feature winners scored by a half-length.
The next card at Harrah’s Philadelphia comes on Sunday (April 15) at 12:40 p.m., when race nine will feature former North America Cup champion Wakizashi Hanover and the streaking Awesomeness, winner of two straight and four of his last six, trying to overcome their assigned outermost posts in a $22,500 winners-over handicap pace.
Until Labor Day this year, Harrah’s Philadelphia’s basic schedule will be Wednesday – Thursday – Friday at 12:25 p.m., with Sunday action set for a post of 12:40 p.m. (Harrah's Philadelphia)