An interesting Open Handicap pace was raced on Saturday night (December 3) at Northville Downs.
True, it was a small, five-horse field, and the favorite won, but he just barely won while long shots finished second and third -- to the delight of some railbirds -- and every step was contested, from gate to wire.
Leaving from the middle of the field, racing for purse of $8,800, Mark Webster powered the rich J C to the front, and SF Supreme and driver John Moody took the second spot. The bettors' third choice, Richards Ed, whom the race secretary assigned the outside post position, race hung-out, third when J C passed the opening quarter pole in a modest 29 seconds on a cold, blustery lat fall evening.
Stuck on the outside with John Kakaley holding the reins, Richards Ed kept the pressure on J C on the second turn.
Richards Ed had won at Pompano Park in early October, in 1:52.2, was given a few weeks off, and raced in a couple qualifying races at Sports Creek Raceway and Northville Down, but whether he could keep up the pressure and the pace in what was his first race back was the question at this point.
Webster got J C to the half-mile pole in 58s, where Richards Ed raced second, a ¼ length back, followed by Young's Tower and driver Art McIlmurray. Young's Tower was looking for his fifth-straight win, having raced in Canada, Ohio and Michigan. SF Supreme enjoyed a garden trip and Uptown Raider and driver Vince Copeland raced fourth.
On the second turn, J C, a 9-Year-Old who has won $608,985, lifetime, and the 7-Year-Old Richards Ed were a ¼ length apart. Richards Ed has a nice lifetime bankroll of $268,704, and has banked about $70,000 of that this year, and has a 1:51 mark.
Webster slowed the pace a bit in the third quarter-mile and hit that marker in 1:27.3. J C had won twice in this class in his last four races, and had also finished second and third. This was his “kind of deal.”
On the final turn, J C still had a ¼ length lead over Richards Ed, but the latter had had enough as he entered the land and fade, while SF Supreme looked for racing room and Uptown Raider was advancing on the outside.
In the lane it was a four horse race, in which J C finished the slowest -- 29.4s -- but held on by a neck at the wire, in front of SF Supreme. The long shot in the field, Uptown Raider, finished third and Young's Tower finished fourth, just 1 ¼ lengths behind the winner.
J C now has a record of 6-9-9 and has won $78,394 in 39 starts in 2005 for his breeders and owners, James Jackson and Dave Tanner. The son of--Sis's Image is trained by Jim Jackson, and now sports lifetime earnings of $613,385.
ourtesy Of Dan Conway, United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom Correspondent