Delicious bided her time off fast fractions, then brushed late to capture a harness racing division of Friday's $82,471 Arden Downs stake at The Meadows in a stake-record 1:55.2.
The Grand Circuit event for 3-year-old filly trotters, known as the Ned McCarr, was contested over three divisions, with Miss Chip K and Ciao Dough taking the other splits. Aaron Merriman enjoyed a stake double with Delicious and Ciao Dough.
Delicious broke stride in her last start, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, but she followed comfortably Friday while Sequin Hanover sped through a wicked 1:24.4 three-quarters. When the weary leader broke stride in the stretch, Delicious pounced, outkicking Taylor Jean and downing her by 4 lengths. Cantab Cabela was third. The time knocked two ticks off the previous Ned McCarr mark established by MM’s Lioness last year.
“The horse to beat was on the front, and she just got punished,” Merriman said. “I benefited from it. She’s a pleasure to drive, a real professional. If she gets a little bigger and a little more mature, she’ll show even more than she did today.”
Ron Gurfein trains Delicious, a daughter of-Ipsara LB, for Patrick Quaid and Jerry Silva.
A 14-1 long shot, Miss Chip K overcame her recent gaiting problems, followed cover and nailed Blue Yonder at the wire by 3/4 lengths in a lifetime-best 1:56 for Mike Wilder. The first-over Upfront Bye Bye was third.
“They added hopples and a Murphy blind on the left, and there were no problems,” Wilder said. “She was fantastic. She couldn’t have been any better.”
Charlie Norris trains Miss Chip K, a daughter of-American Miss K, for owner/breeder Bob Key.
Ciao Dough charged through the Lightning Lane to get her victory for trainer Aaron Hamilton and owner En Mar Stable. Powell Blue Chip was second, with early leader Shanty Irish third.
“Her only vice is behind the gate,” said Merriman of the daughter of-Rising Dough. “You can’t put her close to the gate or she’ll make a break. But she’s an honest horse who gives her all.”
$65,864 Arden Downs – 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters
Redder Than Red, a fairground phenom dismissed at 20-1, graduated to raceway stake winner by rallying late and wide to capture a division of the James Manderino, a Grand Circuit stake, in 1:56. Wing Tips was second by a head, with Beluga Ridge third.
“He really exceeded my expectations,” said winning driver Tony Hall. “I know he’s super-hot, so I was just trying to keep him flat and race him from behind. It worked out a lot better than I thought it would. He was good once I settled him down, but getting him off the gate was tough.”
Boots Dunn conditions Redder Than Red, an SJ’s Caviar-Chaka Khan gelding, for Dunn Stable.
Rock N Jessie took the other Manderino split in 1:56.2 for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Howard Taylor and Slaughter Racing Stable. Boytown split horses late for second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Kingstone third.
“He’s been a little quirky with the gate,” Palone said of the-Just Plain Denise gelding. “I think it was a blessing in disguise that he drew post 8 because I was just going to send him all or naught and hope I got him out of there on the right foot. He’s a little bit of a slow learner. This may get him pointed in the right direction.”
Elsewhere on the card, Trotslikethewind won the $22,500 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot in 1:54 for Hall and owner/trainer Andy Rickert. The 7-year-old-Familiar Goal mare won for the 26th time in 75 career starts and extended her career bankroll to $263,615.
Hall and Palone each drove four winners on the 16-race card.
by Evan PATTAK