Columbus, MN – The Sunday evening (June 24) program of Harness Racing at Running Aces was loaded with action-packed races and was highlighted by the $14,000 Open Handicap Pace for horses & geldings, featuring a very talented field of nine.
Firedrake was the talk of the tote board, having drawn his most favorable post position (2) in several weeks, and coming into tonight's contest off of a few troubled-trips where he had faced traffic issues, the public was certain that Firedrake was the one to beat.
The public was indeed correct, as Firedrake was alert from the inside and floated out to a three-hole position as Hawk's Red Chief (Dean Magee) and Bettor's Promise (Williams Hernandez) both launched from the outside posts and traded blows for the ealry lead. Just past the 27.0 quarter, Hawks Red Chief yielded to Bettor's Promise, then swooped right back around to re-take. Make It Big (Steve Wiseman) went on the attack with a strong first-over attempt through the middle stages (55.4 and 1:24), that created a four-horse outer flow which found Firedrake locked and shuffled down the backstretch.
Make It Big was unable to sustain his rally around the final turn and driver Nick Roland found a split-second opportunity to glide his pacer into the clear, and Firedrake responded immediately with a furious charge to engage the leader and power by, opening up with every stride and stopping the clock at 1:53.
Stevensville (Rick Magee) had traveled along the pylons behind Firedrake throughout, and was able to shake free and post a strong rally for 2nd, while Hawk's red Chief had to settle for third. Firedrake ($4.40) is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC. and trained by Nick Roland, this was his fourth trip to the winner's circle in 13 starts this season.
Also on Sunday, The $12,000 Open Handicap trot was featured, with a strong group of seven facing the starter. Silverlode (Lemoyne Svendsen) was here to defend her 3-race win streak which was comprised of track record miles, while overall Track Record holder Banker Volo was looking to strike back and post his second open win of the Running Aces season and Pridecrest (Steve Wiseman) was trying to score his first local win.
As the gates swung open, the big mare Silverlode was firing fast from her assigned outside post and powered past a fast-leaving Banker Volo to take the early lead and command the fractions. Silverlode posted a moderate tempo of 28.3, 58.0 and 1:27 with Banker Volo breathing right down her neck from the pocket, and as they turned for home, Banker Volo tipped out and it was game on.
The always impressive 9 year old stallion rallied past his nemesis mare with a strong stretch brush, to draw away by 1 1/2 lengths and post a mile in 1:55.4 over Silverlode who remained game in second, and a late-closing bid from Pridecrest secured the third spot. Banker Volo ($11.40) now shows 3 wins in 10 starts, he is trained by Jenni King for owner Jeralene Roland.
Driver Rick Magee led the program with 3 wins on the night, while Nick Roland, Steve Wiseman and Dean Magee all picked up driving doubles.
Back on Saturday night (June 23), Aint No Uppy Girl (Rick Magee) rallied from off the pace to win her $8,500 Filly pace in the Minnesota-Sired races, she stopped the clock in 1:55.1 for a new lifetime mark and her second win in the last 3 starts. Aint No Uppy Girl ($3.60) is owned by Van Oterloo Stables and trained by Gordon Graham.
Also on Saturday, Dream Chasin (Nick Roland) was a pocket-rocket style winner in his $8,500 boys division in 1:55 for a lifetime best mile and two wins in a row. Dream Chasin ($6.00) is owned by Michelle and Gregory Budach.
by Darin' Gagne, for Running Aces