Dustin Ingraham's Nocturnal Rose and A Fool For Mark established respective life marks of 1:52 1/5 and 1:50 4/5 at the 2011 Colonial Downs fall meet but both pacers had been winless in their seven combined starts at the current fall harness racing campaign.
Both their fortunes changed quickly in back to back races Thursday afternoon .
Nocturnal Rose wired the field in the filly/mare fifth race pace in 1:51 3/5, a season’s best time in her 27th start of 2012. The 6 year old Stampede Hanover mare started out the Colonial season in tougher conditions but took advantage of a drop in class her last two starts.
Coming off a third place finish Sunday, Nocturnal Rose won by 1 ¾ lengths over You Raise Me Up for owner/trainer Cheryl Whitsell.
A Fool For Mark on the other hand finished either second or third in each of his four starts this fall but he was still 0-for-19 this year. The 6 year oldgelding took advantage of a perfect pocket trip in the $5,000 second leg of the Hal Belote Memorial Pacing Series to capture a 1 ¾ lengths score in 1:51 1/5.
Ingraham, who also owns and trains the pacer, cut panels of :26.0, :54 2/5 and 1:22 3/5 on a very warm day. Jason Green’s Trophy Hunter, a first leg series winner, finished second while Sandbar Slugger took third.
Two other horses connected with sub-1:52.0 miles Thursday. Brad Irvine’s Dr. Lon had a 1:51 4/5 sizzler while Mary Dawson’s Doc’s Bonanza stopped the clock in 1:51 3/5 in the secondary feature.
Colonial Downs is dark on Friday. The track will present ten race programs both Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 PM. TLC (The Learning Channel) Network will be at the track Sunday to shoot an episode of a yet unnamed television series that will air in December.
The episode will focus on four housewives from West Virginia and their day at the harness races.
by Darrell WOOD