Day At The Track

Keystone Classic divs and Mike Wilder wins 7

04:35 AM 22 Sep 2011 NZST
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Ooga Booga worked out a comfortable pocket trip, then blew by in the lane Wednesday at The Meadows to capture a division of a $77,800 Keystone Classic. Groom Hanover took the other split in the stake for 3-year-old harness racing colt and gelding trotters.

Ooga Booga was sitting second behind the 7-10 favorite, Broadway Legs, when Mike Wilder tipped him off the cones in the stretch

"The last time I drove him, in the Stallion Series, I got locked in with him," Wilder said. "That was my fault. I'm glad I got a second chance with him because he showed today what he could have done the last time. He can be a little aggressive warming up, but in the race, he's perfect."

Ooga Booga wore down Broadway Legs to defeat that rival by a neck in a career-best 1:55.2. Buffalino Hanover finished third. John Butenschoen trains Ooga Booga, a Cantab Hall-Neat Knees gelding, for Blackfoot Farms. It was one of seven wins on the 16-race card for Wilder.

Groom Hanover enjoyed a ground-saving journey, then roared by Bambino Hall to triumph by a neck in 1:55.3, a lifetime mark. SJ Better Days rallied for show. All were aided by the unforced break of Big Rigs, who had opened a daylight lead before his misstep near the three-eighths. Winning driver Dick Stillings acknowledged his good fortune.

"To win these kinds of races, you need a lot of luck, whether you're the favorite or not," said Stillings, who carved out a three-bagger on the card. "Bambino Hall was struggling in the turns tonight, so I pulled a little early and got the jump off the turn. That helped out a lot."

Fred Grant trains Groom Hanover, a Cantab Hall-Givemearing gelding who vaulted over $100,000 in career earnings, for John Bach and Daniel MacIsaac.

Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday evening when the track hosts three divisions of a $79,200 Keystone Classic for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Headlining the first division is Hambletonian Oaks winner Bold And Fresh, who is trying to rebound from breaks in her two post-Oaks performances. That split goes as Race 4 with an approximate post time of 7:45 PM.

Evan Pattak

 

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