Standardbreds Shine Day and Night

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Ted Black

April 30th, 2017

Many of harness racing's top trotters and pacers can typically be found under the lights, but on Saturday the action got started early and lasted well into the night.

On Saturday morning at the Meadowlands Pure Country, Resolve and Lyons Johnny all recorded sharp qualifying victories as they continue to prepare for their seasonal debuts. Pure Country was champion two- and three-year-old filly pacer and looks poised to make another title bid this season at age four.

Later that same afternoon at Freehold Raceway, a half-mile oval in central New Jersey accustomed to daylight programs, Another Chapter (Scott Zeron) and Lord Cromwell (John Campbell) each captured their respective $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for three-year-old colt trotters.

Another Chapter benefited from a pocket trip, angled to the passing lane and got up late for a neck win in 1:57 for his first win in 11 career tries for trainer Mark Silva. Two races later, Lord Cromwell led throughout to post a 7-1 upset in 1:56.4 for his third win in five career outings for trainer Ed Hart.

Just past the midway point of the Saturday night card at Yonkers Raceway in New York, All Bets Off (George Brennan) lived up to his role as the 7-5 favorite in the $55,000 Open Handicap when he gained command early and led throughout and held safe the late bid of Roland N Rock (Jordan Stratton) to score in 1:52.1.

A six-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Ron Burke, All Bets Off notched his first win in five starts this year and now owns a solid 23-19-12 slate and $2.25 million bankroll from 82 career outings. Hero of the inaugural $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway last fall in 1:48.2 to equal the all-age track record, All Bets Off rebounded from four modest tries in the Levy series to attain his first seasonal score.

Two races later on the card, Betterlatethnnever (Jason Bartlett) easily lived up to his role as the 4-5 favorite in a non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class when he brushed to command early and drew off late to a six-length score in 1:53.

An eight-year-old Western Terror gelding trained by Heidi Rohr, Betterlatethnnever notched his second straight score and fifth win in 12 starts this year. It was his 16th win from 42 career outings and pushed his lifetime bankroll past $115,000.

Then two races later in the Saturday night finale at Yonkers, Take It Back Terry (Brennan) made good on his 7-20 promise when he left to gain command past the opener, got a ludicrous breather by the half in 58 flat and edged clear from pocket-sitting Bet You to score in 1:53.1 in a non-winners of $25,000 last five starts class.

Another eight-year-old Western Terror gelding trained by Burke, Take It Back Terry ended a four-race skid that included two overmatched efforts in the Levy series to record his second win in six starts this year. Take It Back Terry now owns 46 wins and $1.26 million banked from 156 career tries and now sports 19 wins in his last 55 starts at Yonkers.

That same night at the Meadowlands, Roll Away Joe (Yannick Gingras) displayed ample early speed and some late kick as well to capture the first half of the split, non-winners of $15,000 last five starts/non-winners of $67,500 in 2017 class in 1:50.2 for Burke. It was his first win in two starts this year for the four-year-old Roll With Joe gelding.

Two races later in the other half of that split conditions, debuting four-year-olds Western Fame, Check Six and Boston Red Rocks finished one-two-three in 1:51 for trainers Jimmy Takter, Burke and Steve Elliott. All three were regulars in the major stakes for three-year-old colt pacers last season and all three should be primed for a solid season ahead.