by John Furgele
Check this out!
Race 7 Tioga Downs, Sunday, June 11 Post Time 3:50 PM
Purse: $75,000 Restrictions: 4 year olds.
1 Boston Red Rocks
2 Dr. J Hanover
3 Seeley Man
4 Check Six
6 Lyons Snyder
7 Easy Lover Hanover
8 Roll Away Joe
10 Western Fame
This is as talented a field as you will see in a $75,000 Graduate race for 4-year old pacers. Last week, Dr. J Hanover set a record for the fastest mile paced on Canadian soil when he stopped the clock in 1:46.4. Right behind him was Boston Red Rocks. What made the “Doctor’s” so compelling was the fact that he was 0-for-9 coming in, so for him to not only win, but to run that time was quite a feat for those who witnessed it at Mohawk.
Sintra is no slouch either with four wins and a third in five starts. And, Tioga Downs is a fair track at 5/8 mile, so we shall see if the 1:50 mark will be threatened. My hunch is that it will, indeed. Is 1:48 and change possible? Again, we shall see.
And, not be to outdone, there are two $50,000 Graduate races for trotters and one of them features Marion Marauder. All “MM” did in 2016 was win the Trotting Triple Crown by sweeping the Hambletionian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity to become just the ninth trotting Triple Crown winner.
Tioga Downs is one of the three tracks owned by Jeffrey Gural. The other two are Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands. It may not be a big-league track, but this Sunday, it is all that and more. While Tioga is hosting harness racing royalty this weekend, Vernon—along with Buffalo Raceway—are busy hosting New York Sire Stakes action. A fixture in most states, sire stakes remain vitally important to the sport of harness racing. The sire stakes are incentives to breed and cultivate young horses in your state by rewarding them with higher purse races when they get to racing age. Most of the purses at Buffalo and Vernon this week were $40,600. Sire Stakes races are spread throughout the state with the finals taking place this fall. And, New York is not the only state, of course, that features these races. Keep reading to see.
Another big race to keep an eye on takes place tonight at Scioto Downs in Ohio as the Charlie Hill Trot commences with an 8:50 pm scheduled post time. The big name is Obrigado, who last year was sixth in the $1,000,000 International Trot at Yonkers, but then rebounded to take the TVG Free for All at The Meadowlands. He was also fortunate to draw the one post on the 5/8 mile track in central Ohio. In addition to that race, there are three Ohio Sire Stakes races, each with $40,000 purses. Obrigado will be challenged by JL Cruze, who comes in with the most earnings in 2017 and the fastest time with a 1:51.
Pocono Downs features three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races, each with a $48,077 purse and all three for trotters. Like Tioga, “PD” features a 5/8 mile track with the horses running over the beautiful red clay. While the trotters go at it at Pocono, the pacers square off in three $48,601 PA Sire Stakes races at The Meadows, also a 5/8 mile track.
And, oh, there is a big race on Long Island, too. I think it’s called the Belmont Stakes. That one is for the thoroughbreds.
See you at the races. As you can read, there are plenty of them.