This Is The Plan rockets to Franklin win
June 29, 2019
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The pocket rocket This Is The Plan prevailed on Sun Stakes Saturday night (June 29) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He ducked inside pacesetting favorite Western Fame, went to the lead, then held off defending Ben Franklin champion McWicked to take this year’s $500,000 Franklin final in 1:48.2, with the 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding setting a new mark.
Yannick Gingras got This Is The Plan out to command early, then let Western Fame go to the lead near the :26.3 quarter. Western Fame reached the half in :54.2, then turned on the afterburners as McWicked moved first-over, keeping that rival a few lengths behind by going the third split in :26.2 en route to a 1:20.4 three-quarters.
Around the turn, though, the field crept closer, with This Is The Plan right on Western Fame’s back and McWicked getting closer. In the stretch, the famed Pocono Pike provided the avenue to victory for the winner, as he finished a neck ahead of a never-say-die McWicked, with Western Fame another half-length back.
“I thought if I could get a two-hole trip behind Western Fame, we could be at least second,” Gingras noted after the race. “He was sharp in his elimination (second to Western Fame), and he was less grabby than he was last week, except maybe late on the turn, but generally he was more relaxed, and he took advantage of the trip.”
Ron Burke conditions the winner of $917,915 for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr.
Driver Gingras went to the Franklin winner’s circle for the second time, the first with the great Foiled Again in 2013.
In the $75,000 Franklin consolation, Highalator bolted out of third before the half, cleared to the three-quarters in 1:20, and went on to the fastest mile of the year on a five-eighths-mile track, 1:48, while leaving his field 4-1/4 lengths behind.
Hitman Hill and Filibuster Hanover had argued through bruising early fractions of :25.2 and :53.1, and thus the front end had been softened when Highalator and driver Richard Still made his huge backstretch brush and drew off.
The son of Somebeachsomewhere has now won 30 of 64 lifetime starts and $466,528 for trainer Jenny Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction Inc.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA