Day At The Track

Artful Way splashes to victory at Plainridge

12:34 PM 14 Aug 2018 NZST
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Artful Way, harness racing Poisonous, harness racing Lear Seelster, harness racing
Artful Way (#6) and driver Steve Nason beat Starznheaven to the wire by a nose
Tom Melanson photo
Poisonous and driver Jimmy Whittemore
Tom Melanson photo
Lear Seelster and driver Mitchell Cushing
Tom Melanson photo

Plainville, MA --- A relentless all-day rain wet down the track at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Aug. 13) but it didn't dilute the talent that would compete over that surface. Heading the list of eye-catching performances was Artful Way, who got used both early and late before closing sharply in the lane to capture the $18,000 Open Handicap pace.

Artful Way (Steve Nason) left and took the lead, but he passed that off to Starznheaven (Greg Merton) by the quarter in lieu of a garden spot trip from there until the stretch. Positions remained the same until the half when Thisjetsabookin (Shawn Gray) pulled first up with Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) on his back and started to push the issue.

The top four were now in a tight pack pacing two in and two out, going up the backside and into the far turn before Thisjetsabookin faded giving Artful Way the opening he was waiting for. Starznheaven looked clear with a two-length advantage but Nason got Artful Way underway and had a full head of steam. With heavy urging from Nason, Artful Way continued to eat up ground all the way to the wire and won by a nose in 1:51.1.

It was the 11th win in 24 starts for Artful Way ($6.20) and it pushed his annual income to $110,667 for owner Kellogg Racing Stables and trainer Jackie Greene.

There was a pair of undercard features whose winner's efforts defied the elements.

The $15,000 Winners-Over pace was won by Poisonous (Jimmy Whittemore) who got a pocket trip behind One To Draw To (Shawn Gray) until the three-quarter pole where he tipped three-deep around the challenging UF Rockin Dragon (Greg Merton) and opened up a seven-length lead before cruising home a wrapped-up winner in 1:52.

On the strength of his fourth win, Poisonous ($3.80) has now earned $35,820 in 2018 for owner Jimmy Whittemore and his trainer, Dennis Whittemore.

In the other $15,000 condition pace for non-winners of nine races lifetime, Lear Seelster (Mitchell Cushing) got away sixth chasing a speedy :26.4 quarter before pulling second-over at the three-eighths, eventually going three-deep around the last turn to out-pace the front running Bamski (Jimmy Whittemore) under right-handed urging from Cushing to win in 1:53.1, which was a new lifetime mark for the winner.

It was the fifth win of the year for Lear Seelster ($16.40) who has now earned $41,124 for owner David Glazer. Jim Nickerson trains the winning gelding.

There was also a pair of 2-year-old late closer Open races on the card; one on each gait and both going for $12,500.

In the Nauset Light for 2-year-old pacers, Sylvia Trench (Always A Virgin-Miss Maverick) made her first Plainridge start a winning one, tripping out behind Fight Like Mike (Greg Merton) to a two-length victory in 1:57.1, which equaled her lifetime mark. Jim Hardy drove Sylvia Trench ($4.20) who is owned by Rosalie and Paul Vacca, who also trains the filly.

In the Wood End Light for 2-year-old trotters, Refi (Chapter Seven-Blazing Musclegirl) got away third, pulled first over and cleared the Massachusetts bred The Fixer (Trixton-Give You My Word) at the top of the stretch to win by a length in 2:01.4. Trained and driven by Domenico Cecere, Refi ($4.80) is owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut and Robert Rudolf.

The horses weren't the only ones putting up big numbers on Monday. Several horsemen had multiple winning efforts on the day as well.

Driver Mitchell Cushing teamed up with trainer Jim Nickerson and together they added four wins to each of their dash victory totals for the year.

That dynamic duo found the winner's circle with the aforementioned Leer Seelster along with Siskel (1:55.1, $3.80), Star Of Terror (1:54.1, $8.00) and Sunburst Cruze (1:53.1, $4.00).

Driver Steve Nason also drove two winners for trainer Jackie Greene.

There was no winner of the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta once again on Monday so there is a large carry over pool of $2,216.95 that will be available for the Wicked Hi-5 in the sixth race on Tuesday (Aug. 14) when live racing resumes at Plainridge Park at 4 p.m.

by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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