Smooth Criminal came within one-fifth of a second of his lifetime mark on Saturday at Northlands Park as he held off 45-1 longshot Overcard to win the $9,000 Open Pace in 1:53.1 over the 'good' track.
Trainer/driver Bill Tainsh Jr. quickly sent Smooth Criminal to the lead from post three and carved out fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:24.3 before holding off the pocket-sitter. Overcard and Philip Giesbrecht finished a quarter-length behind in second. Smooth Criminal paid $13.70 to win as the 5-1 third choice. Timberline Court, the 3-5 favourite, finished third for Gerry Hudon.
The five-year-old Blue Burner gelding is owned by Willie Wychopen of St. Paul, Alta. and Edmonton's Walter Moroz.
Now two-for-five this year, Smooth Criminal has 16 wins lifetime and his earnings sit just a few thousand dollars shy of the $200,000 plateau. He took his 1:53 speed mark as a three-year-old in an Alberta Sires Stakes elimination at Alberta Downs.
Hudon was the evening's win leader with three victories aboard Cabo Real ($4.50), the repeating Mr Brightside ($7) and Burn The House ($7.50). Meanwhile, Gary Clark, Travis Cullen, and Kelly Hoerdt each had a pair of wins on the 12-race program.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Northlands Park.
Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca