Ocean Downs kicked off summer season on Sunday
Sunday evening marked the beginning of the Ocean Downs harness racing meet and the Maryland half-mile oval five miles west of Ocean City offered a blend of overnight races for trotters and pacers at three different distances over the seaside oval.
In the opening race on the Sunday card at Ocean Downs, Ponder Time (Allan Davis) gained command easily through the clubhouse turn the first time, maintained the advantage through modest fractions of 28.2, 59.3 and 1:28.3 over the off going and held safe even-money choice KJ Dr Michelle (John Wagner) for a length score in 1:58.2 in the first division of the Berlin Series for pacing fillies and mares.
A daughter of Ponder trained by Michael Hall, Ponder Time recorded her first victory in eight starts this year and pushed her seasonal earnings past $10,000. The Berlin series, named in honor of the track's hometown, is limited to pacing fillies and mares that had not won three races or earned over $8,501 lifetime as of May 10, 2019.
Second DivisionTwo races later in the second division of the opening leg of the Berlin series, Perfect Maverick (Jared Moyer) was reserved well off the early pace, grinded her way first over down the backside to drop in behind Emma Hanover (Davis), angled out at the head of the lane then overhauled the leader late to score by a length in 1:58.
A daughter of Western Maverick trained by Arlene Cameron, Perfect Maverick recorded her first win in five starts this year and nearly doubled her earnings to $7,340 on the season. Emma Hanover carved out honest fractions through the first three calls and was just nailed late and should be a factor throughout the Berlin series.
Younger PacersThree races later in the featured non-winners of six races or $25,000 lifetime class for younger pacers, Go Sue Me (John Mackinnon) rallied from well off the pace second over to post a 12-1 upset in 1:57. A five-year-old Real Artist stallion trained by Phil Jasper, Go Sue Me outlasted the late bid of 25-1 outsider Rock King Deo (Kim Vincent) to prevail in the overnight feature on the card.
Three of the races on the latter portion of the Ocean Downs cards were actually not contested at the standard distance of one mile. In the divided Casino series for $7,500 claiming pacers, a pair of races contested at the abbreviated nine-sixteenths of a mile just over once around the half-mile oval. Diabando (John Wagner) took the opening division by four lengths in 1:02.2 for trainer Cameron.
Pocono DownsThat same evening at Pocono Downs, Maryland-bred Tequila Monday (Tyler Buter) easily lived up to her role as the 7-10 favorite in the $30,000 Great Northeast Open for pacing fillies and mares when she gained command in a 26.2 opener, got a breather by the half in 55.1 then held safe Apple Bottom Jeans to score by a length in 1:50.2.