Speed was king at Running Aces on the Tuesday (June 14) Harness Racing program as six of the eight winners on the night were on top at the quarter pole.
The $16,500 Open Handicap Pace saw an early speed duel for the front between stablemates Caliber and Way To Close, both from the Williams Hernandez stable.
Caliber and driver Dean Magee blasted off the gate from post five to take the top spot but was immediately confronted by Way To Close (Tony Kerwood) who also wanted the front end trip, Caliber released his rival to the top just past the :27 quarter as SB Bodacious got away well from post one to secure the third spot.
Way To Close led down the backstretch after posting a half in :56.3 but Caliber came back for more as they headed into the far turn and the pair battled past the three-quarter mark in 1:24.
In the lane it was all Caliber ($5.20) to the wire, with Way To Close proving second best and SB Bodacious a solid third in the 1:52.4 mile. This is the third local win in five starts and fourth win of the season for the 5-year-old son of Sweet Lou, owned by Terrence Smith and Tony Beltrami and trained by Maria Alvarez.
The $13,000 Open II Pace went to Saddle Up who posted his second consecutive win with Luke Plano in the bike and delivered as the heavy favorite.
The outside trio in the field all left fastest from the gate and EL’s Disco Johnny (Williams Hernandez) from post six won an early skirmish with Albergo Hanover (Chip Lackey) from post five while Pancetta (Rick Magee) also posted early speed to get away third from post seven through the :27.3 quarter.
Plano activated Saddle Up before the half mile juncture and was able to sweep to the front just before Pancetta began a first-over bid which saw the top two battle into the far turn while the fractions remained solid (:56.1 and 1:24.3).
Saddle Up continued to pace strong in the homestretch and El’s Disco Johnny was also full of pace from the pocket and ducked into the passing lane. The top pair battled to the wire in a thrilling photo finish which found Saddle Up in front by a head in 1:53.2 with Pancetta holding third. Saddle Up ($2.40) is a 4-year-old son of JK Endofanera and is owned by Jeff Fought Racing and trained by Justin Anfinson.
Trainer Justin Anfinson led the Tuesday program with 3 wins, while both Rick Magee and Dean Magee posted driving doubles. Owner Cathy Dessert also had two wins on the night.
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Thursday (June 16) with first post at 7 p.m. (CDT) and will feature a pair of carryovers, including $1,153.11 for the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $577.58 for the 50 cent Hi-5 wager.