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Wilberforce steps up, captures Buffalo Open Trot

February 13, 2020

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After a couple of narrow losses in the $13,000 Open Trot level at Buffalo Raceway, a better post and a change of equipment proved to be the right remedy for Wilberforce ($3.10) on Wednesday night (Feb. 12)
With a pair of starts from the seven hole, Wilberforce drew the five post and went coast to coast in collecting a 2-3/4 length victory over Lougazi in 2:00.1 over the sloppy track. The margin of victory could have been more but Wilberforce drifted badly in the stretch but had enough in the tank to post the win.
"We put a Murphy blind on him and it did the opposite of what we wanted him to do," chuckled winning driver John Cummings Jr. of the wide journey down the stretch. "You look on paper and you can see he's a good animal."
Posting quarters of :29.4, 1:00.1 and 1:30.2, Wilberforce stepped on the gas the final panel to bottom out the field. Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) finished a hard-charging second while Rockefeller Lindy (David McNeight III) and Daylong Phantom (Jim McNeight Jr.) finished in a dead heat for third.
Owned by trainer Kris Rickert and Dale Wareham, Wilberforce (Caviar Crown-Rose Run Imprint) is an 8-year-old gelding that has won three times in six attempts this season, earning $26,310. His career bankroll jumped to $312,682.
Buffalo Raceway's 2019 Trotter of the Year, Wheels A Turning ($3.40), went wire-to-wire in posting a solid two-length victory over Empire Earl N in 2:01.2.
Zooming off the gate from the start, Wheels A Turning went right to the top for driver Aaron Byron and set splits of :30.1, 1:01.4 and 1:31.1. With a panel to trot, Wheels A Turning stayed strong and never looked back as Empire Earl N (John Cummings Jr.) and Traverse Seelster (Denny Bucceri) settled for second and third.
Owned by Allan Schmucker and trained by Sabrina Shaw, it was the first win in three appearances this season for Wheels A Turning (Mr Cantab-Free Wheeling). The 8-year-old mare has now earned $5,080 this season and $256,917 lifetime.
Sarah Cola (McNeight III) cut the mile and had just enough 'pop' left and hung on for the neck decision Machs Echo (Jim Morrill Jr.) in the $10,000 Class A-B Handicap Pace for the filly and mares.
With fractions of :30.1, 1:00.3 and 1:30.1, Sarah Cola ($6.80) showed plenty of heart to turn back the determined Machs Echo in 1:59.2 while Jag Out (Byron) was third.
Co-owned by trainer Jim Graham and Giuseppe Micchia, it was the first victory of the 2020 campaign for Sarah Cola (No Pan Intended-Saramotion). The score upped her season winnings to $6,428 and $168,709 in her career.
Drew Monti completed the evening with a triple while Kevin Cummings, Morrill Jr., McNeight III and Cummings Jr. all doubled. Maria Rice had a pair of training victories.
Racing will continue on Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. with a 12-race program scheduled.
For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, upcoming promotions and simulcast schedule, go to www.buffaloraceway.com (Buffalo Raceway)
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