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Graffam Goes Off Monday In MASS

Published: October 4, 2021 7:06 pm ET

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The second leg of the $2.24 million Massachusetts Sire Stakes for two-year-olds went postward at Plainridge Park on Monday with a total of $480,000 in purses up for grabs. Single divisions went for $60,000 but the trotting and pacing fillies went two splits of $30,000 each.

Despite persistent rain, a sloppy track and cool temperatures, there were many great stake performances put forth on Monday led by driver Nick Graffam who scored a MASS hat trick, winning three series races with trotting filly Tennessee Lindy, pacing filly Wolverina and trotting colt Wallet. Also trainers Jessica Okusko and George Ducharme each sent two from their respective stables to the winner’s enclosure for MASS winning photos and five of the six stake winning horses preformed in lifetime best efforts.

The first division of trotting fillies was won by Tennessee Lindy (Muscle Hill-Nashville Lindy) who rallied late and matched her lifetime mark.

Maliziosa Lindy (Bruce Ranger) cut the mile with stablemate Moni Heist (Domenico Cecere) and Tennessee Lindy (Nick Graffam) following closely in line. There was no change in this order through fractions of :28.4, :59.1 and 1:29.2 until the top of the final turn where Tennessee Lindy tipped out and motored towards the leader. She caught Maliziosa Lindy when they straightened out for home and trotted away to a two-length, 1:58.4 victory that matched her career best time.

It was the first stake win and second win of the year for Tennessee Lindy ($7.20) who is owned by FTM Racing Stable and trained by George Ducharme. Tennessee Lindy was bred by KR Breeding.

The first group of pacing fillies went next and Wolverina (Cheyenne Hollywood-Terri I Fra) registered her fourth win of the year.

Shakeitoffscarlet (Kevin Switzer, Jr.) was sharp on the point and cut quarters of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25 while Wolverina (Nick Graffam) was sitting right on her back. With the rest of the field several lengths back in the last turn, it turned into a match race to the wire. Shakeitoffscarlet continued to lead but Graffam tipped Wolverina just past the seven-eighths and the two pacers went at it. Wolverina drew alongside Shakeitoffscarlet, who responded and held position. But Wolverina had more pace on this day and pulled away to win at the line in 1:54.4, which was a new lifetime mark.

Wolverina ($19.00) scored her first MASS win, but already had three Maine Sire Stake victories to her credit this year. The filly is owned by Mike Graffam -- who also bred and trains her -- and William Arnold.

The second division of trotting fillies had a repeat winner when Grateful Express (Cantab Hall-Tough Girl Lindy) went gate to wire.

Grateful Express (Drew Campbell) was all business as she took the lead and trotted unchallenged the rest of the way. With two horses making early breaks and only post time favourite Wonderwall Lindy (Jay Randall) in close pursuit, Grateful Express set easy fractions and got to three-quarters in 1:29. Coming off the turn Wonderwall Lindy put in a good effort trying to gain ground in the stretch. However Grateful Express would not give way and trotted home ahead by 1-1/4 lengths in lifetime best 1:58.

It was the second win in a row and fourth out of five lifetime for Grateful Express ($5.60) who is owned by James De Armond and Sal Vullo. Jessica Okusko is the trainer. Grateful Express was bred by KR Breeding.

The second set of pacing fillies hit the track and it was no surprise when Dudes Sweet Bet (Dudes The Man-Sweet Bettor) won her second in a row.

Dudes Sweet Bet (Shawn Gray) opened up an immediate four-length lead after So Flo (Frank Affrunti) and Adela (Matty Athearn) both made breaks. Gray kept the filly in check with a soft :30 second quarter but also was up by three. Dude’s Sweet Bet got to three-quarters in 1:28.2, rounded the last bend and paced away to an easy 6-3/4 length victory in 1:57.2.

Dudes Sweet Bet ($3.00) now has three wins on the year for owners Triple C Stables and Chris Lems - who also bred the filly - and gave trainer Jessica Okusko her second stakes winner of the day.

One seven-horse field of male trotters went postward in the fifth stake tilt of the day and Wallet (Walner-Touch Of Moni) just got up in time to win his second MASS event in a row.

Bill Bauer (Drew Monti) blasted off the gate and led handily to the quarter in :29.1 while Wallet (Nick Graffam) floated outside before settling in third past that first station. Bill Bauer continued to lead by two lengths as the race motored up the backstretch before Wallet pulled at the five-eighths and started to chip away at the stone. By the three-quarter pole, Wallet had reached Bill Bauer’s wheel and was trotting with authority. He continued to gain ground on Bill Bauer who was grudgingly giving way. But Wallet couldn’t get by until the wire, where he gained a neck advantage over Bill Bauer in 1:57.3, giving him a new career mark.

Wallet ($2.60) remains undefeated in the MASS for owner George Ducharme Stable, Jim Winske, David Winske and Stephen Michaels. Ducharme claimed his second stake training win of the day with Wallet, who was bred by the Moni Maker Stable.

Graffam and Ducharme teamed one more time later in the card to win the $25,000 fillies and mare Open Handicap with Therewasthisgirl - who won her fifth straight race - giving Graffam his fourth overall win of the day and Ducharme his third.

The last stake event was a field of pacing colts who were upset by Takechargebluechip (Roll With Joe-Caroline Hanover) who took no prisoners at 8-1.

Takechargebluechip (Bruce Ranger) was the fastest off the wings and got to the quarter in :26.3. The field followed single file behind until the five-eighths where Striking Impact (Drew Monti) pulled first and Use Yah Blinkah (Jim Hardy) soon followed. The three-length lead Takechargebluechip had was eroding at three-quarters as Striking Impact and Use Yah Blinkah were both getting closer. Off the last turn Use Yah Blinkah and Striking Impact were neck and neck but Takechargebluechip was still ahead and wouldn’t be denied, winning by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:55.2 which was a new lifetime mark.

Takechargebluechip ($18.00) is owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock, JFE Enterprises and Donald Robinson and is trained by Melissa Beckwith.

Massachusetts Sire Stake action will take a break next week but will resume at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 17) when these two-year-olds will get back together for their third leg of competition. The $800,000 (est.) finals for both two- and three-year-olds will be held on Monday (Oct. 25).

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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