Up Front Flor Ida, Kay Again win Hackett elims
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The photo finish operator at Miami Valley had a busy night on Friday (April 13) as thrilling close finishes were the order of the day, including the three featured events. A pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett Memorial elimination heats produced crowded photo finishes as did the $24,000 Mares Open Pace.
Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) pulled a major upset in the initial Hackett elim, nosing out Filou Fly Fast (Chris Page) and Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) in 1:53.4. Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder), who lead the field to the first quarter pole in :28, also qualified for the $40,000 Hackett championship next Saturday with a fourth place finish.
The top seven fillies in the ten-horse field were within 1-1/4 lengths at the wire. The winner, a daughter of Woodstock who had just two wins and $15,824 in freshman earnings, paid $46.00. Up Front Flor Ida is trained by Tim McKoy for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy.
The second Hackett elim went to favored Kay Again (Chris Page), who won by 1-1/4 lengths and paid $3.20. It took the camera to separate the next four finishers, however, as they were all noses apart. Also advancing to the final were Grant Me This (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Badlilvelocity (Aaron Merriman), Auntmilly’smartini (Rocky Ward) and fastest fifth place finisher Merciless (Tyler Smith).
Kay Again also had just two wins, good for $45,190 in earnings, heading into the Hackett but now must be considered one of the favorites in a very competitive and evenly matched championship field. The daughter of Dragon Again is owned by Alan Keith and trained by Mike Roth.
The lucrative Mares Open Handicap was not to be outdone, producing another exciting photo finish. American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) eeked out a mild upset over Colorful Sky (Aaron Merriman), Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) and Rockin Racer (Jared Finn)—all of which "you could cover ‘em with a blanket" at the finish line.
It was the third seasonal win for American Girl, although she hadn’t visited the win circle in two months. She paid $16.40 for topping the elite field with over $2.5 million in career earnings. The 9-year-old Art’s Chip lass now has 49 career victories and $913,160 in life bounty for owners Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt. Trainer Tyler George manages her daily routine. (Miami Valley)