Starznheaven remained undefeated at Plainridge Park after scoring his third consecutive top-class win when he went from worst to first in the blink of an eye to win the $16,000 Winners Over Handicap Pace on Monday afternoon (June 18).
Starting from post eight, driver Greg Merton hit the pylons last while Mysharona Bluechip (Eddie Davis Jr.) and Kenrick N (Ron Cushing) were engaged in a knock-down, drag-out fight for the lead. Those two went at it to the quarter in :26.1 and the half in :53.3 before Mysharona Bluechip pulled away from Kenrick N up the backside while Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Starznheaven moved up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:21.
At the top of the last turn, Starznheaven tipped three-deep around Quick Shot and was under a full head of steam. With a high-line in the left hand and minor urging with the right, Merton gave Starznheaven his head and the horse responded by scooting away from the pack to a four length victory in a new lifetime mark of 1:49.4.
It was the eighth win of the year and 30th lifetime for Starznheaven ($4.20) who has now banked $79,375 this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Donald Emond and Lawrence Karr. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is in the midst of a career year.
The time of 1:49.4 was the fastest race at Plainridge Park since Givenupdreaming won by three lengths in 1:49.3 on July 5, 2016. Givenupdreaming was also owned by Burke-Weaver Bruscemi.
In the co-featured $15,000 conditioned pace, Moonlight Artist (Mitchell Cushing) turned a two-hole trip behind J J S Jet (Drew Campbell) into a hard-fought one length victory in 1:51.3, which was a new lifetime mark. Andrew Adamczyk owns the winner that is trained by Jaymes McAssey.
The $10,000 claiming series named "The 2007 Sox" kicked off with three divisions on Monday, each being contested for a $10,000 purse.
The first went to Grand Gallup Semalu (Drew Campbell) who went gate-to-wire and romped by six lengths in 1:53. Grand Gallup Semalu ($2.60) is owned by William Mc Elvain Jr. and is trained by James Dunn.
The second division saw Upfront Lorne (Shawn Gray) come first-up from fourth at the half to out-muscle SB Mike’s Hot Beach (Steve Nason) at the wire and win by a head in 1:53, which was a new seasonal mark. Upfront Lorne ($6.40) is owned by Andrew Adamczyk and trained by Jaymes McAssey.
And the final division was won by Mom’s Crossroads (Shawn Gray) who got the lead past the quarter and never looked back, winning by a length in 1:52.4. Mom’s Crossroads ($4.00) is owned by Andrew Adamczyk and trained by Jaymes McAssey, giving them the owner/trainer hat trick.
Mitchell Cushing closed out the card by making some noise in the 11th race. In a spirited drive from the back of the pack, Cushing urged BP Diet Food up the outside and down the lane to catch BJ’s Guy (Shawn Gray) at the wire and win in 1:52.2 at 70-1 odds. BP Diet Food paid $156.20 for the win and triggered a 3-6-7 trifecta that returned $10,726.20 for a two-dollar wager. The drive also gave Cushing a driving double.
Other drivers scoring multiple wins Monday included Shawn Gray with three and Drew Campbell and Greg Merton with two apiece.--By Tim Bojarskski/Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts