Philly features start final week of 2018 season
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A quartet of $16,000 events were in the Wednesday afternoon spotlight at Harrah's Philadelphia; evenly divided between the gaits, both the pacing and the trotting events had one runaway and one close finish, with the former preceding the latter in both.
The first feature on the track was a pacing contest going to the Sportswriter three-year-old gelding Sprocket, who was hustled to the lead down the backstretch and went on to take a new mark of 1:51.3, 3¾ lengths clear on the wire for driver Andrew McCarthy and owner/trainer Ed Gannon Jr.
In the other sidewheeling contest, the altered Bettors' Delight sophomore Desert Party, coming in off a win at Dover, was raced in front by Tim Tetrick, with the pair just holding off a wild late rush from Lisburn, who was shuffled to last and made up five lengths of the stretch. Desert Party had enough to win his second straight, keeping a head ahead in 1:53.2 for trainer Joe Hundertpfund Jr. and owner William Sartin.
On the trot, both winners were sophomores who recently changed hands. The Cantab Hall filly Bandol Rose, going for the third time for trainer Rene Allard, brushed to the lead early and was long gone, stretching her lead to 2½ lengths at the ¾, five at the stretch call, and 8½ lengths at the 1:55 finish. Yannick Gingras was in the sulky for the ownership of Allard Racing Inc. and Earl Hill Jr.
In the other diamondgaited division, the Credit Winner gelding Fashion Forever paid immediate dividends upon acquisition, withstanding Clarion Hall by a half-length in 1:56.1. Driver Steve Smith put his charge into grind mode just past the half, made the lead mid-far turn, then held to the line while withstanding the large-charging Clarion Hall for trainer Karen Garland and owners George Bullukian and Charles Krippendorf.