Pat Matters trots in 1:53 Friday at Philly
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A trio of $16,000 races for classclimbing younger horses served as the tri-features on Friday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia – two for trotters, and one for pacing females.
The faster trot saw a runaway winner in the Explosive Matter mare Pat Matters, who took a new lifetime mark of 1:53. A fast distaff (she got a check in the Kentucky Filly Futurity final last year) but one who had made two breaks in three seasonal starts, Pat Matters was all business in this contest, putting up front numbers of :28.3, :56.3, and 1:24.1 (a :55.3 middle half) en route to a decisive triumph for trainer Nifty Norman and the Patricia Stable.
In the other trot, the Donato Hanover sophomore gelding Faithfulandtrue went the race of his life, being sent right to the lead by driver Michael Cole and putting up splits of :28.1, :57.4, and 1:26.3, then staying clear by three lengths to the wire in a lifetime best mile of 1:55.3. It was the seventh win in the career of Faithfulandtrue, who is trained by Joseph Columbo for owners George & Tina Dennis Racing, and the victory rewarded his scattered backers with an $80.40 win mutuel.
The sidewheeling fillies and mares race came down to a stretch duel between second-choice Lyons Hedgeabet and favored Abigail Dawn, with the former prevailing and lowering her mark to 1:52.1. The victorious daughter of Mach Three was very wide going to the first turn in making the lead for driver Yannick Gingras, who then left Abigail Dawn circle up after the opening :27.3 fraction to take the lead and sat in the pocket through middle splits of :56 and 1:24.2. In the stretch Lyons Hedgeabet went to the pacesetter's left and the pair fought home in :27.4, with the winner gamely taking a half-length decision for trainer Gareth Dowse and owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound.
In a $14,500 pace for fast-class mares, Believe In Me went to the early lead in :27, yielded to the quarter move of favorite Obvious Blue Chip to enjoy a two-hole journey behind middle splits of :54.4 and 1:23, then came out in the lane and wore down the pacesetter by ¾ of a length in 1:51.2. Andrew McCarthy drove the Brett Pelling trainee, with the Bay Pond Racing Stable owning the victorious daughter of Roll With Joe.
A special Saturday live card is set for tomorrow at 2:05, as Harrah's Philadelphia will be one of four tracks in the Caesars chain to take part in the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge. The Billings amateur drivers will also be in town on Saturday.