Fresh off a pair of harness racing open wins at Saratoga, Obrigado ($8.70) pounced from a rated tracking trip to take the $15,000 Open Trot on Saturday (August 9) at Tioga Downs, equalling the all-age track record of 1:52.3 in the act.
From the outset,kept the four-year-old Boy Band gelding well off an ambitious pace set by Wisenheimer (Jim Marohn, Jr.), only starting to move a closer second on the far turn after a 1:23.2 three-quarter split. While pressing on the far turn, Obrigado gained into a joint lead coming to the top of the stretch, driven out in the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Macs Bad Boy ( ) rallied off a stalking trip to narrowly take second from Wisenheimer, while odds-on favorite Traverse Seelster ( ) simply had too far to rally, finishing fourth.
The mark, shared by Manningly and Autumn Escapade, also gave Obrigado outright ownership of the track record for four-year-old trotting geldings, eclipsing the past record of 1:54.3 shared by Martino and Brookroad Knight.
Trainerco-owns Obrigado with the partnership of Higgins, Weaver, and Stable 45.
Later in the card, Pan Luis Obispo ($13.20) sustained a first-over bid to prevail in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace, wearing down Inittowinafortune in 1:51.4.handled the driving duties of the four-year-old mare for trainer Robert Bresnahan and owner Robert Bresnahan, Jr.
Live racing resumes on Sunday (August 10) afternoon, with a stakes-laden program headlined by the finals of the Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired three-year-old pacers. Post time is 1:30 p.m. EDT.
by James Witherite, Tioga Downs