Ocean Downs and Yonkers offer stakes action on Monday

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Ted Black

July 31st, 2018

A pair of half-mile harness racing ovals separated by several states offered stakes action on Monday evening as Ocean Downs hosted a quartet of Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events for two-year-olds early on the card while Yonkers Raceway in New York presented a pair of New York Sire Stakes races for three-year-old colt pacers on the latter half of its program.

In the opening race on the Monday card at Ocean Downs, Gittin All Sexy (Russell Foster) prevailed in her career debut for owner-breeder-trainer Richard Hans while capturing a $13,500 MDRF split for two-year-old filly trotters. A juvenile daughter of Googoo Gaagaa, Gittin All Sexy carved out all the fractions over the rain-dampened 'good' surface and drew clear in the lane to a three-length score in 2:03.4 to score at first asking for Hans.

Then one race later in the first $15,000 MDRF split for two-year-old colt pacers, Roar Of Approval (Corey Callahan) easily lived up to his role as the 1-20 favorite when he settled into third initially, sat there past the half, brushed to command past three-quarters and romped home eight lengths clear in 1:58.3. A juvenile son of Well Said trained by Eddie Dennis for owner Eric Good, Roar Of Approval recorded his second win in four starts and pushed his earnings to nearly $20,000 while having little trouble with his foes or the off going.

Then one race later in the second $13,500 MDRF split for freshman filly trotters, Pats A Keeper (Jared Moyer) eventually proved to be the stronger half of the 3-5 entry trained by Arlene Cameron when she edged clear late to score in 2:04 in her career debut. A daughter of Lockkeeper trained by Cameron, Pats A  Keeper rallied from midpack and first over to overhaul Donna's Hall (Frank Milby) and stablemate Mary's A Keeper (Wagner) to win by a length in 2:04 in her career debut for Cameron.

Then two races later on the card in the second $15,000 MDRF split for two-year-old colt pacers, Sonny's Blessing (Jared Moyer) overcame a long, first over journey to wear down Rockin The Shades (Foster) and score by two lengths in 1:59. A juvenile son of Rusty's All In trained by Cameron, Sonny's Blessing displayed plenty of grit to prevail first over amid the off going in his career debut and looks poised to make his presence known in subsequent MDRF events.

That same evening at Yonkers Raceway, Springsteen (David Miller) easily proved to be the boss of the first $86,000 NYSS split for three-year-old colt pacers when he rallied second over to score by four lengths in 1:51.1. A sophomore son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Rene Allard, Springsteen notched his third win from seven starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings past $330,000 and his career bankroll over the $520,000 mark with his emphatic score.

Springsteen had earlier won the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial final at Pocono Downs in 1:48.3 in a 15-1 upset, but he failed while first over in his Adios elim at the Meadows on July 21 and virtually headed to Yonkers for a NYSS split as a consolation prize. He already owns another NYSS division score, while Maryland-bred Rootin Tootin trained by Blake Macintosh of Courtly Choice fame, sports three NYSS victories thus far and looks destined for the $250,000 final later this fall.

Then one race later in the second $86,000 NYSS split for sophomore pacing colts & geldings, Heavenly Sound (Jim Marohn, Jr.) rallied second over to sweep past 1-5 choice Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett) and then outlasted the late bid of Ostro Hanover (David Miller) to score by a length in 1:52.4. A sophomore son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Bruce Saunders, Heavenly Sound notched his sixth win in 16 starts this year and he now owns an 8-5-4 slate and $155,000 banked from 29 lifetime tries. Trump Nation brushed to command before the half but wilted in the lane as the odds-on choice.