Southern Palms was hands down the best on Saturday night (May 5) in Buffalo Raceway's $10.400 Open Trot by wiring the field in a seasonal best 1:57.2. He easily beat Noble Legend by 2-1/4 lengths.
Starting from the three post, Southern Palms trotted smartly to the lead and notched fractions of :29.0, :58.4 and 1:27.4. In the drive to the wire, driver Kevin Cummings kept the upset minded Southern Palms ($15.20) on task and squashed the hopes of Noble Legend (Billy Davis Jr.) and Empire Earl N (Ray Fisher Jr.) who took second and third respectively.
Trained by Gerry Sarama and owned by Michael Torcello, it was the second straight pace-setting victory for the 5-year-old gelded Southern Palms (RC Royalty-Pacific Elegance). The win moved his 2018 bankroll to $14,278 and $208,379 in his career.
In the co-featured $9,600 pace, Upfront Countryboy went off as the 1-to-9 favorite and it was a drama-free journey in the 5-3/4 length romp over six other rivals. Scoring from the rail, driver Shawn Gray put Upfront Countryboy ($2.30) right to lead and never looked back. After registering splits of :28.2, :57.3 and 1:26.2, he finished the mile in a throttled down 1:54.1 over the fast track.
The best battle of the race was for the minor spoils as China Dream (Davis Jr.) nabbed second place over Linkjack Hanover (JD Perrin).
Owned by William Emmons and trained by James Clouser Jr., it was the sixth win in 10 appearances for Upfront Countryboy (Dragon Again-Cambloid). The 9-year-old gelding has earned $22,157 this season and $385,157 in his career.
Cummings and Gray each had triples in the sulky while Monti and Davis Jr. had two victories apiece. Trainers Angelo Nappo, Clouser Jr. and Perrin each conditioned two winners.
Racing continues on Wednesday evening with an 11-race program scheduled for 5 p.m. For more information including the latest news, upcoming programs, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com.
Ar Saratoga, Justin Credible (Art Major) was a leg one winner in the JP Morel Memorial Pacing Series two weeks ago when he put in a career-best effort for trainer-driver Brett Crawford. He won the final Saturday night.
The 4-year-old gelding got looped while trying to leave but Crawford drove on to the front with Justin Credible, who wound up setting sizzling fractions on the engine. After pacing a first half in :55.4, Justin Credible was met with challenges from several rivals and put them all away before drawing off to win in 1:53.3 to once again lower his lifetime mark.
Conspiracy Theory (Jimmy Devaux) came on to be second while leg-one winner Plus One (Mark Beckwith) earned the show spot in the $31,400 final of the series that honors the memory of longtime top driver JP Morel.
Justin Credible entered the series with career earnings of just shy of $20,000 and more than doubled that number after prevailing in two of the three weeks of the Morel, including Saturday’s score. He paid $7.30 while pulling off the mild upset and led an exacta and triple that came back $80.50 and $164, respectively. Crawford, who has been this season’s breakout star at Saratoga, also piloted the winner of Thursday’s John Mongeon Sr. Memorial Trotting Series final as Spoiler Alert, just as did Justin Credible, picked a good time to set a lifetime mark.
Justin Credible becomes the sixth winner of the annual JP Morel Memorial Pacing Series adding his name to the list of previous winners that includes Finnish First, Mach To The Max, Starznheaven, Hillbillycashflow and In A Single Bound. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a 12:15 p.m. start to the matinee.
At Tioga Downs, Prairie Fortune (Jim Meittinis) won the featured trot ($12,000) on the opening night (May 5) card of the 2018 season.
Lutetium (John Cummings Jr.) went to the lead, hitting the first quarter in :28.2. Dragin The Wagon (Aaron Byron) grabbed control of the race and led going into three-quarters. Prairie Fortune ($6.10), who has been the trotter of the year at Tioga the last two years, made a first-over move and took over at the top of the stretch, winning by two in the end in 1:54.1.
Dragin The Wagon held the second spot with Uncle Hanover (Andy Santeramo) finishing third. Prarie Fortune, a 6-year-old gelding by Arapa Victory, is owned by Laurie Poulin and trainer Mike Deters. He picked up his fourth win of the season and notched his 41st career victory. Mike Merton won three on the day. He got wins with Tropical Trice ($9.20), Rusty's Flying ($6.00), and Party Like A Lindy ($4.10).
The large opening day crowd were entertained by a fireworks display after live racing ended. Tioga Downs live racing returns on Sunday (May 5) with a 10 race card starting at 1:00 p.m. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com.
I Win Hanover (Jimmy Whittemore) took the Robert E. Keller Trotting Series Final ($12,200) at Vernon Downs on Saturday night (May 5) as Whittemore won five races on the night.
Somedew Somedont (Howard Okusko Jr) took control of the Keller Final just after the first quarter. I Win Hanover ($8.50) went first-over just before the three-quarter mark. Owned by S. Leaf, D. Mackenzie, G. Fielding, and M. Termiskey, while trained by Tom Jackson, he blew right by in the stretch to win in 1:55.4. Somedew Somedont held on to finish second. Money For Nuthin finished third.
I Win Hanover, a 3-year-old gelding by Credit Winner, picked up his first win of the season and won for the third time in his career.
Duckies Dynasty captured the Anthony Farina Pacing Series Final ($11,400). Duckies Dynasty (Whittemore) went first-over and took control just after the first quarter. Owned by Share A Horse Inc. and trained by Harry Landy, he would never look back to win in 1:53.2. Cuz I'm Happy (Truman Gale), made a three wide bid late in the stretch but had to settle for second best. Back To Motown (John MacDonald) finished third. Duckies Dynasty ($3.10), is a 3-year-old gelding by Riverboat King. He won for the sixth time this season and career.
Whittemore also picked up wins with Parkhill Horton ($6.00), Love Live Laugh ($9.20), and Major Leaguer ($4.20). Vernon Downs returns to live racing on Friday (May 11) with a post time of 6:10 p.m. For more information go to www.vernondowns.com. (Buffalo, Saratoga, Tioga, Vernon press releases)