By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces Casino, Hotel & Racetrack
Caliber took the top Harness Racing feature on the Tuesday night (May 31) program at Running Aces with a sharp gate-to-wire tally in 1:51.4 for his third win in eight outings this year.
The five year old son of Sweet Lou drew the outside post in the $16,500 Open Handicap and blasted off the starting gate for driver Dean Magee to take immediate control of the contest with a :26.3 opening panel. Way To Close (Rick Magee) also left sharply from post six and landed in the pocket, while Chase The Gold (Brian Detgen) settled away in third.
The fractions remained strong (:55.2 and 1:22.4) while Caliber kept everyone in chase mode and rounded the far turn with a 1-1/2 length advantage. Bombay Hanover (Luke Plano) launched a first-over bid in the final three-eighths of the mile and Alilthundadownunda (Nick Roland) chased the cover from fifth.
In the stretch Caliber paced home strong and was never in danger of losing the contest while Bombay Hanover surged at the wire to nose out Way To Close.
The margin of victory for Caliber ($7.60) was a half-length. The winner hails from the Williams Hernandez stable and is owned by Terrence Smith and Tony Beltrami and trained by Maria Alvarez.
Pancetta (Rick Magee, $9.60) was razor-sharp in the $13,000 Open II Pace to post his third win in a row for trainer Liberio Pacheco.
Pancetta left with pace from post three in the seven horse affair and quickly went after the early leaders Wonder Bull (Gerald Longo) and Allmyx’sliventexas (Roland) to take the lead just before the quarter pole in a fast :26.3 clocking.
Once on the lead, Magee settled the classy 13-year-old gelding by No Pan Intended down for a quarter of a mile before facing and turning back a strong challenge from He Grins Again (Plano) around the far turn.
From there, Pancetta opened up on his rivals late and was much the best to post a three length tally in 1:53. Fox Valley Ozzy (Gary Rath) closed sharply from last to pick up the pieces in second and Watchmeneighneigh (Brady Jenson) also closed well from the back of the pack to pick up third money.
The winner is owned by Richard Morita and David Yamada and now shows 46 career wins and earnings of $534,294.
Drivers Nick Roland and James Lackey and trainer Liberio Pacheco all posted doubles on the Tuesday card.
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Thursday night (June 2) and will feature a carryover of $11,772.84 in the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager, as well as a $5,000 guarantee in the 50 cent Late Pick-4 wager.