Day At The Track

Fillies shine in $190,000 John Simpson Stakes

12:13 PM 28 Sep 2018 NZST
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John Simpson, Sr., harness racing
John F. Simpson Sr - Born in 1919, Simpson became a legendary figure in harness racing

CHESTER, PA - The John Simpson Sr. stakes series, honoring the late Hall of Fame horseman and executive, got underway at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon with two-year-old harness racing filly action, with over $190,000 in combined purses for three divisions of pacers and two of trotters.

In the first pace, the Well Said- Lady's Portrait filly Renaissance Lady K was sent to the front by driver George Napolitano Jr. before the 27.3 quarter, then the pair got to the half in 56.3.

Favored Philly Hanover launched uncovered from fourth at that point, and made some headway before the leader got to the ¾ in 1:24.1; the chalk then continued to reduce the margin through the stretch, but Renaissance Lady K held gamely to post a neck decision while lowering her mark four seconds to 1:52.1. Norm Parker trains the winner for veteran owner Robert Key.

In the other sidewheeling division, Rockn Philly, who did not have a good outing upon returning to her "home track" for a Liberty Bell contest last week, definitely brought her "A" game today while winning in 1:53.4.

Victor Kirby sent the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance - Philadelphia to the lead after the 27.4, rested to the half in 57.2, and then powered home in 56.2 - 27.4 while unthreatened, boosting her earnings to $118.038 for trainer Jim King Jr. and the ownership of CC Racing LLC and Jo Ann Looney-King.

Turning to the trotters: The "Trot Man," driver Mike Simons, showed he knows 5/8-mile track geometry in the first section, going out from the rail with Pilgrims Lass against two outside leavers, forcing one to tuck before letting favored Navarone Hanover go past the 28.2 quarter, and then racing in the golden seat through middle splits of 58.3 and 1:27.4.

As first-over Big Weezy grinded to a short lead headstretch, Simons ducked to the inside, and gradually his Muscle Mass - Goodtimesstarthere filly erased Big Weezy's narrow advantage and got to the wire a neck to the good in a personal best of 1:57.1. Pilgrims Lass has now won two straight for trainer Scott Andrews and owner Edward Andrews.

The Donato Hanover - Glide About miss American Kosmos, 3-for-4 lifetime and the 1-9 favorite of the crowd, found herself having to take a two-hole trip behind determined 38-1 shot Sigilwig, who set fractions of 28.4, 58.3, and 1:27.3 in their cut.

At the ¾ pole driver George Brennan eased American Kosmos to the outside, and she trotted nicely down the center of the track to win in 1:57.1, at the wire a length ahead of Meadowbranch Vicki, with the gallant Sigilwig holding for third. Julie Miller trains the quick filly, whose only loss came when she made a break, for owners Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Dr. David Goodrow.

Stella Jane, looped early and out well past the 28.2 quarter before getting the lead, went on with fractions of 58.4 and 1:27.3, then had enough to withstand the horse that parked her early, Southwind Percy, by a neck in 1:57 after a stretch battle in the last division. George Napolitano Jr., getting a stakes win on both gaits, guided the daughter of Crazed - Naughty Nana for trainer John Butenschoen and owners Crawford Farms Racing.

FINISHING LINES - With a carryover from yesterday in the Pick 4 pool, this afternoon's quad-win bet drew a lot of attention, with its 50-cent minimum and 15% takeout. Horses paying $7.60, $13.00, and $2.20 in the first three legs didn't really hint at a mega-payoff, but when $64.60 winner Inner Peace nosed out favorite He's Gone in the bet's final contest, a 50-cent ticket was worth $7441.90. (Had the favorite held, the payoff still would have been a generous $676.50.)

From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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