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Ohio’s Swapportunity wins Wolverine-Buckeye Challenge

November 17, 2019
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LaSalle Investments LLC's Swapportunity ($5.40) gave Ohio top honors in Saturday's $25,000 Wolverine-Buckeye Invitational Pace on Saturday evening at Northville Downs, just holding the Michigan-based Top Notch at bay.
 
Swapportunity left strongly from post two to establish close inside position, but yielded to Still Friskie (David Lake) and OGradys First Man (Don Harmon) through a :27 first quarter before Art McIlmurray angled him first-over with five-eighths to go. Swapportunity forced middle splits of :56.1 and 1:25.1 before pressing his way to the lead on approach to the final turn.
 
After putting Still Friskie away and extending his lead to two lengths midway on the final turn, Swapportunity braced for a three-wide challenge from 3-2 favorite Top Notch (Darrell Wright) at the top of the stretch. The 7-year-old Mach Three gelding found the line just in time, prevailing by a diminishing half length in 1:54.3. Crusoe Hanover (Mark Headworth) emerged out of traffic to finish third, another 2-1/2 lengths back.
 
Ray Farmer trains the Ohio-based Swapportunity, now a 30-time winner.
 
The Wolverine-Buckeye Invitational debuted at Northville Downs after having been a mainstay on the calendar at the now defunct Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio.
 
McIlmurray notched a driving hat trick on the 12-race card, as did Darrell Wright and Kim Pluta. (Northville Downs)
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