By Darin Gagne’, for Running Aces Casino Hotel and Racetrack
July 18, 2022
The Sunday evening Harness Racing program at Running Aces was loaded with feature events including two $20,000 splits of the Dan Patch Eliminations as part of a ten race program.
Little Rocket Man delivered a scintillating performance in the first split to tie the overall Aces track record of 1:50.1 with John De Long in the sulky.
Sent off at 1:9 on the tote board from post one, Little Rocket Man got away sharply and settled in the pocket while A Major Omen (Luke Plano) left for the front from post three and Numbered Account (Brady Jenson) settled away in third.
De Long activated the 6-year-old son of Rockin Image just past the :27.2 quarter clocking and quickly took over control and settled nicely on the lead during the :28.3 second panel.
The leader was never under pressure and he turned up the speed as they raced down the backside to keep his rivals in chase mode.
A Major Omen tracked closely from second and gamely came after the leader late, but Little Rocket Man ($2.10) had plenty left to give and paced strong to the wire for a half-length tally over A Major Omen with Numbered Account well back in third in the record-tieing mile, which boasted a :54.1 final half.
The winner is owned by Russell Beeman and Boomer Freeman and trained by Melissa Essig. He now shows five wins in eight starts this year.
Caliber posted a very sharp gate-to-wire performance in the second elimination split in 1:51.
The sharp 5-year-old son of Sweet Lou was fired up and blasted from the gate from post two to take immediate control of the contest while the public choice Saddle Up (Dean Magee) got away in the pocket and Zanetti (Rick Magee) dropped in third.
Plano settled the leader into a nice rhythm and they posted a middle half in :55.2 while facing no challenges.
As they straightened for home, Saddle Up angled from the pocket and charged at the leader but Caliber fought gamely to the wire to prevail by a half length while Major Offense (Mooney Svendsen) rallied for third money.
Caliber ($5.00), who races from the Williams Hernandez stable, now shows six wins in sixteen outings this year for owners Terrence Smith and Tony Beltrami and trainer Maria Alvarez.
Also advancing to the Dan Patch FFA Final next Sunday will be fourth place finishers SB Bodacious and Zanetti, as well as Alilthundadownunda who won a draw between the two fifth place finishers.
Alvarez and Plano teamed up for another big win with All American N (Muscle Hill) in the $16,500 Open Handicap Trot with a front-running score by three-quarters of a length in 1:55.1 over the fast closing pair of Bordogna and Bringoverthemoney.
All American N ($3.20) also hails from the Hernandez stable and is also owned by Alvarez. He has won four of eight races this season.
Trainer/Driver Gary Magee piloted Cobra Venom (Southwind Cobra, $7.80) to a sharp looking 1-1/4 length score for his first career win, in the $13,000 Minnesota-sired sophomore ‘B’ trot in 2:00.2.
Brady Jenson piloted CR Promise To You (Tom Ridge, $3.40) to her third straight win in the $19,800 ‘A’ division in 1:58.2, checking in one length ahead of Triggered with Scroll On By further back in third .
Plano also won three overnight races on the undercard to bring his total to five wins for the night, and is the first driver to post a five-bagger at Aces this season.
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (July 19) with a nine race program and features ‘Dollar Night’ specials. The program will also offer a carryover of $10,891.82 for the 20-cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager. Racing gets underway at 7 p.m. (CDT).