It might be that fresh New England air or the fact he’s been back on a five-eighths-mile track where he seems to do his best work. Either way, the razor-sharp Starznheaven has now registered back-to-back feature race victories at Plainridge Park after winning the $16,000 Winners Over Handicap Pace on Monday afternoon.
Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) left sharply and grabbed the lead from He’s Marvelous (Nick Graffam) around the first turn. Maintaining a gapped advantage on the point, Campbell set fractions of :26.1, :55.4 and 1:23 with only a mild bid by One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) during the middle half.
Starznheaven (Greg Merton), who had gotten away seventh, pulled before the half and was following One To Draw To second-over up the backstretch and when that one’s bid failed around the final bend, Merton swung three-deep coming into the lane and had his charge pacing with conviction as the race headed towards home. Starznheaven drew alongside and then passed Quick Shot before hitting the wire a half-length in front in 1:51.
It was the seventh win in 17 starts this year for Starznheaven ($5.40) who has now amassed a single season high $71,375 in earnings for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Donald Emond and Lawrence Karr. The 6-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven is trained by Jim Nickerson.
In the co-featured $12,000 fifth race, Mysharona Bluechip (Greg Merton) took no prisoners for the fifth time in the last six weeks, going gate-to-wire in impressive fashion, stopping the clock in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark for the winner. Owned by A Piece of the Action, Mysharona Bluechip ($2.40) scored his sixth victory of 2018 and pushed his earnings to $39,175 for the year under the tutelage of trainer Eric Beach.
Mysharona Bluechip was also claimed out of the race by Richard Knight for $20,000.
Greg Merton and Shawn Gray each had three driving wins on Monday.
It was a big payday for the owner of the winning ticket in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. The combination of 1-5-4-3-2 returned $21,770.20 for a one dollar wager, with the even money favorite winning the race. (Standardbred Owners of Mass.)