Open Paces & Tharps Series elims highlight Miami Valley
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A pair of Open Paces and a pair of final preliminary divisions of the Tom Tharps Memorial late-closing series highlighted the Saturday (March 31) night program at Miami Valley, raced over a sloppy surface due to persistent light rains during the night.
Night Pro returned to his winning ways, fronting the $25,000 Open I pacers from start to finish in 1:52. Now two for seven on the season, with three place finishes as well, the indefatigable 8-year-old Pro Bono Best stallion increased his bankroll to $877,347 with his 55thlifetime triumph in 114 starts. Owner-trainer-driver Dale Decker put his prized possession on the engine from the word go, as has been his custom throughout the 2018 season. Night Pro dodged raindrops through fractions of :27.2, :56 and 1:23.4 before towing runnerup Lucky Lime (Shawn Barker II) and show finisher Prince Bayard (Kayne Kauffman) across the finish line.
The $20,000 Open II went a tick faster when Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) beat Journeyman (Chris Page) and Caviart Midnight (Dan Noble) in 1:51.4. Robert Bellamy and Chris Bulak own the 8-year-old Camluck gelding who has visited 28 winner’s circles in 114 lifetime trips to post, good for $244,959 in earnings. The score was one of four for Jason Brewer, who celebrated his 40thbirthday by completing a driving grand slam.
The final two $15,000 preliminary heats of the Tom Tharps Memorial series, for non-winners of six races or $60,000, resulted in two exciting finishes. Herehecomesarockin (Jason Brewer) edged Sossy’s King Kong (Chris Page) by a half length in 1:52 with Outrajus Blue Chip (Tyler Smith) garnering the show dough. Mojoto Hanover (Tyler Smith) won by the same slim margin in the second split over Up On The Outside (Brady Galliers) and Limited Edition (Chris Page). The teletimer read 1:51.3 at the end of this mile.
Both Herehecomesarockin and Mojoto Hanover are repeat Tharps Series winners and will enter next Saturday’s $27,500 championship final as co-favorites.
Miami Valley will be dark on Easter Sunday, but will present four consecutive 2:05 p.m. matinees from Monday through Thursday of the coming week.