Day At The Track

Upsets galore in Simpson

10:56 AM 07 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Blank Stare,Harness racing
Blank Stare edged away late to defeat Lake Charles in the first division of the Bret Hanover.
Lauren Tucker/World Wide Racing Photos.
Chester, PA -- Favorites tasted defeat in all four harness racing divisions of the John Simpson Memorial for 2-year-old colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 6) at Harrah's Philadelphia, and all four winners took new lifetime marks.


Blank Stare ($19.00) took top honors among 14 freshman male pacers, dueling down prohibitive favorite Lake Charles for a 1:52.4 victory in the first of two $49,700 divisions of the Bret Hanover. Corey Callahan angled the gelded son of Bolt The Duer and Hypnotize first-over from fourth as Pennsylvania Stallion Series standout Lake Charles (Jason Bartlett) rated a comfortable :57.2 half mile. Up the backstretch, Blank Stare accelerated to force a quickening pace, sticking a nose in front past three-quarters in 1:24.4 before dueling for the entirety of the far turn. Off the home corner, Blank Stare asserted and pushed clear of Lake Charles by 1-1/2 lengths, while Diamond Head (Austin Siegelman) finished third.

John Butenschoen trains three-time winner Blank Stare for the Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, James Crawford IV and the In Over My Head Stable.

The second Bret Hanover division saw Save Me A Dance ($31.20) and George Napolitano Jr. employ similar first-over tactics to grind down odds-on favorite Cigars And Port (Bartlett) on approach to the final turn. The Heston Blue Chip-Dance Hall Girl colt then outlasted a late rally from the second-over JK Lucky Charms (Eric Goodell) by a half length to win in 1:54.2. Alota Chips (Marcus Miller) lifted from third-over to narrowly miss the runner-up spot.

Save Me A Dance gave Napolitano one of two stakes wins on the card, and was the second half of a stakes double for owner Robert Key and trainer Andrew Harris.

Key and Harris also prevailed in the first $60,000 division of the Super Bowl for juvenile male trotters, when Sky Castles ($6.60, Bartlett) dug in through the far turn to parry a first-over challenge from 6-5 choice Loyal Fox Hanover (Victor Kirby) before sprinting away to win by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Hopeusteponalego (Marcus Schoen) finished a farther 3-3/4 lengths behind in third. It was the second career win for the son of Conway Hall and Sand Piper.


Sky Castles was a dominant winner                  --Lauren Tucker/World Wide Racing Photos

Napolitano completed his stakes double in the second Super Bowl split with Hell Patrol ($10.40). The Yankee Glide-Day At The Spa gelding followed live second-over cover up the backstretch and vaulted three-wide to the lead just after pacesetter Barley (Kirby) broke stride nearing the top of the stretch. Hell Patrol lifted late to reel in 1-2 favorite Saxon (Bartlett) -- who inherited the lead from the pocket -- by a half length in 1:57.1. Kyrie Deo rallied from third-over to take third.

Marcus Melander trains two-time winner Hell Patrol for Courant Inc.

Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Oct. 9), with a 12-race card due to begin at 12:25 p.m. Eastern.


by James Witherite

Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

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