Day At The Track

Stakes and track records at Plainridge

12:28 PM 21 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Han Solo, harness racing Life Is A Feast, harness racing Odds On Orlando, harness racing Finnbar, harness racing Without A Warning, harness racing
Han Solo (#4) and driver Kevin Switzer, Jr. beat R Maddy Blue Chip to the wire
Tom Melanson photo
Life Is A Feast and driver Howard Parker
Tom Melanson photo
Odds On Orlando and driver Drew Monti
Tom Melanson photo
Finnbar and driver Ivan Davies
Tom Melanson photo
Without A Warning and driver Shawn Gray
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Plainville, MA --- The $1.8 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) reconvened at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 20) after a one week sabbatical, with five harness racing divisions of 2-year-olds competing for $161,450 in total purses.

The strongest performances of the day were turned in by Han Solo (Mister Big-Leah) and Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) who combined, tied or set four race records.

The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings went two divisions and Han Solo was victorious in his $22,100 split after a hard-fought race.

R Maddy Blue Chip (Drew Monti) left and cut the mile, giving Han Solo (Kevin Switzer Jr.) a perfect pocket trip. R Maddy Blue Chip set a moderate pace of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.2 while Han Solo drafted closely behind, waiting to make his move.

At the top of the stretch Switzer tipped Han Solo and started driving him hard down the lane. Monti was also heavily urging R Maddy Blue Chip and the two were almost even heading to the wire. But Han Solo got the advantage before tripping the beam and won by one-half length in 1:54.1.

The time was a new lifetime mark for Han Solo, a new MASS stake record for 2-year-old pacing colts and tied his own track record for 2-year-old pacing colts.

It was the fifth win in the last six starts for Han Solo ($5.40) who now has total earnings of $59,837 for owner, trainer and breeder Monique Cohen.

In the $39,200 division for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, Life Is A Feast (Howard Parker) left from post five and was pushed to the front. From there he set quarters of :28, :57.2 and 1:26.1 before turning for home and extending his lead to 1-3/4 lengths at the wire in 1:55.4.

The time tied Life Is A Feast's lifetime mark and also tied the MASS stake record and the Plainridge Park track record for 2-year-old trotting geldings, both of which he set earlier this year.

It was the fourth win in a row and third straight in the MASS series for Life Is Feast ($3.00) who pushed his earnings to $63,475 for owners Al Ross and Paul Fontaine. George Ducharme trains the Karen Carroll-bred winner.

The $40,600 2-year-old pacing filly division went to Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady) for the third straight time this year. Driver Drew Monti took Odds On Orlando back to fourth while Mini Pini (Ivan Davies) and Rojas Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) argued for the lead to the quarter in a swift :26.3. Mini Pini finally grabbed the front and the field then went to the half in single file in :55.2.

After the five-eighths pole Rojas Blue Chip came back out to challenge Mini Pini along with I Am Wonder Woman (Wally Watson). This forced Odds On Orlando to go three-deep at the three-quarter pole and around the entire turn.

Outside of her four-wide was Ry's Red Rocket (Matty Athearn) who was now even with the other three fillies. At the top of the stretch Odds On Orlando swelled up and paced away from the field under a line-drive to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:55, which was a new lifetime mark.

Odds On Orlando ($2.20) remains perfect in Massachusetts while earning $62,416 for owner Odds On Racing and trainer Tony Alagna. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred Odds On Orlando.

The other $21,750 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division went to Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable) who scored his first stake victory.

Mcbeantown (Mitchell Cushing) led the way to the half in :57.4 with the field in single file behind. They remained that way until the five-eighths pole where driver Ivan Davies pulled Finnbar from third, took the lead in the turn and cleared the front by the top of the stretch. From there he cruised home down the lane a wrapped-up two-length winner in 1:55.1, which was a new lifetime mark.

Finnbar ($4.00) is owned by Nancy Longobardi and is trained by his driver Davies. Steve O'Toole was the breeder of Finnbar.

The $37,800 division of the 2-year-old trotting fillies was the lone non-betting event and it went to Without A Warning, who remains perfect this year in the stake.

Leaving from the pylons, Without A Warning (Shawn Gray) led every step of the way while cutting fractions of :29.1, :58.2 and 1:28. He rounded the last turn and trotted away in the stretch while opening up a 3-1/4 length margin of victory in 1:58.

Without A Warning has now earned $136,160 this year for owner Ray Campbell Jr., who also bred the filly. George Ducharme is the trainer.

The 3-year-old divisions will compete on Monday (Oct. 21) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park. There are three non-betting events with post times of 1 p.m., 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. The fourth division goes as race one on the regular betting card with a post time of 2 p.m.

All eight divisions of the $800,000 (est.) MASS finals will be held at Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 28).

By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts
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