With just one-third of the summer meet at Running Aces completed, the track has announced an across-the-board ten percent increase in purses. The increase will boost purses, effective July 14, to an average of over $46,000 per night and an average of over $5,000 per race.
"We've been blessed with brisk business in our card room during the first half of the calendar year,” explained Director of Racing Gregg Keidel. "That fact combined with the unusually large crowds we continue to attract for live racing and our fifth straight year of growth in our export simulcast product has enabled us to announce this welcome news for our loyal horse colony.”
Through 18 nights of the 51-night meet, live handle is up 15 percent over 2011 and export simulcast handle on Running Aces races is up five percent.
The new payout scale increases the minimum purse for maidens and for $2,500 claimers to $2,750. Bottom level condition horses and $3,000 claimers will now race for $3,300. Purses escalate quickly as conditions and claiming prices increase to the top level of $10,600 which will now be offered for a full-field of open class horses. Another highlight of the purse increase is that all 2- and 3-year-old Minnesota-sired races will now offer $8,000 purses.
On the track, track record holder Restless Yankee (Nick Roland) again dominated the $8000 Open Pace on Sunday night, this time in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:52.2. Although the Bob Lems-trainee missed his overall time standard established a week earlier by a second, he triumphed by three lengths over Thedeadliescatch (Kevin Anderson) and Most Remarkable (Joey Mapes).
Trainer Dan Poprawski enjoyed his best night ever in five years at Running Aces with three trips to the winner's circle. Rep Tie (Roland) enjoyed a drop from the Open to a $5500 optional claiming event and sped to a 1:54.3 come-from-behind clocking. Bottom level $2500 claimer Letsgetreadytrumbl (Mapes) also came from well off the pace to narrowly score in a 1:56.1 mile. CJ's Cruiser Sam (Mapes) capped off the big Poprawski barn evening with a 1:57 triumph in a $3000 non-winners of $1000 in last five starts conditioned event.
On the driver's side, Nick Roland won four of the eleven races to catapult himself into second in the dash standings, just one win behind leader Ronnie Wrenn Jr., who has 30 victories thus far in his first season at Running Aces. Besides the Restless Yankee and Rep Tie wins, Roland guided trotter Go Go Fast to a 2:00.1 victory for trainer Wally Johnson and captured the 1:55.3 nightcap with Sharp Shuttle for conditioner Barry Langley. Rick Magee, a former local dash champion, sits third with 25.
Red-hot Joey Mapes scored driving triples on both the Saturday and Sunday night programs to strengthen his hold on fourth place in the standings with 20. In addition to his wins with two Poprawski horses, he posed with Fire Away, trained by Justin Anfinson, following a 1:55.3 mile on Sunday.
Racing resumes at Running Aces on Tuesday and Wednesday nights of this week with 7:00 PM Central post times. (Running Aces)