Plainridge Main Event To Level Up

Thursday was the first day of Spirit of Massachusetts week at Plainridge Park and enhanced purses were in effect for all races leading up to the $250,000 Spirit trot on Sunday (July 25). That made the day's featured condition pace worth $18,000 and it took a career best effort from Level Up to snare the winner’s share of the money.

Level Up (Shawn Gray) grabbed an easy lead from post two and made his way to the :27 quarter unmolested. Bettor In Cash (Drew Monti) had also left from post eight and found himself parked, with no choice but to move up in the breeze. By the time the race hit the half, Bettor In Cash reached Level Up’s wheel and he continued to gain incrementally moving up the backstretch.

Gray had Level Up well in hand and sped up the third panel to :27.4, exhausting the outsider. Around the far turn Bettor In Cash checked out and Level Up put two lengths between himself and the pocket sitting Mcbeantown (Ron Cushing). As he paced into the stretch, Level Up was away by three lengths and under a hand drive from Gray. He crossed the line by the same margin in 1:52, which was a new lifetime mark.

Level Up ($4.20) is owned by the Seafood Delight Stable and is trained by Nicholas Vamvilis.

There were also two $15,000 condition races for fillies and mares that anchored the feature.

The first of the two went to Gotta Love Cabot (Drew Monti) who rallied from last at the half to run down the leading Hired Luck (Drew Campbell) in a thrilling stretch drive. Gotta Love Cabot won by a neck in 1:54 for a new lifetime mark.

Elisha Lafreniere trains Gotta Love Cabot ($19.60) for owner William McElvain, Jr.

The second event saw LA Always Amartini (Drew Monti) in her favourite spot on the lead, where she went gate to wire in a 1:53.3 clocking over Always Mandy (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) who gave a gallant chase in the lane.

LA Always Amartini ($3.60) is owned by Fox Racing and is trained by Jimmy Nickerson.

Plainridge Park’s leading driver is Bruce Ranger and he did nothing to hurt his standings Thursday. Ranger got “one for the thumb” in a five-win afternoon and teamed up with trainer Melissa Beckwith for a natural hat Trick in races three, four and five. The two combined to win with Unwritten Rule (1:52.1, $9.20), Glennferrie Blade A (1:53.1, $2.40) and Just Say Joe (1:54.4, $6.60). Ranger completed his five-bagger with Dojea Gigi (1:53.1, $5.00) and Life Isa Shortwalk (1:55.2, $10.40).

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 23) with post time at 4 p.m.

The $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot will be held on Sunday (July 25) with a 2 p.m. post time. The card is also highlighted with the $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace and the $50,900 Bert Beckwith Memorial Pace and with total purses totalling in excess of $500,000, it’s the biggest day of harness racing in Massachusetts this year.

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)