After near misses in four consecutive recent starts in Miami Valley’s weekly Open Trot, driver John DeLong was on a mission Sunday afternoon (Feb. 16) with 6-year-old Walter White. After springing off the starting gate into an immediate lead, DeLong and Walter White played "catch me if you can" with seven talented foes, but none of them could.
Coasting through fractions of :27.4, :58 and 1:25.4, the winner maintained a one-to two-length lead throughout, tacking on a :28.4 closing quarter to post a relatively easy 1:54.3 triumph. Cantab Lindy (Tyler Smith) parlayed a pocket ride into a runnerup finish, while Deep Question (Tony Hall) benefitted from an inside post and forward ground-saving position to grab the show dough. Sandys Victory (Kyle Ater), last week’s gate-to-wire winner, was forced to try the overland route the final four furlongs and rallied to finish fourth.
Jim Eaton trains Walter White, who now boasts 17 career wins and close to $400,000 in earnings for owner Robert Silberberg. Patrons who backed Walter White received $8.20 returns on their $2 win tickets. The exacta returned $27.20 and a correct 50-cent trifecta kicked back $91.05.
Note to horsemen: In an effort to fill the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial late closer, the entry deadline has been extended to Wednesday morning (Feb. 21), the day of the draw for the first leg on Monday (Feb. 26). Series conditions have been altered slightly to read: Non-winners of four (mares five) pari-mutuel races or $40,000 lifetime. If enough nominations are still not received, the race will be contested as a single overnight event for a $12,000 purse. (Miami Valley)