Oberto Upsets, Night Shadow Streaks In Open Action

Oberto winning at Northfield Park
Published: November 21, 2023 09:00 am EST

While the trip wasn't easy, Oberto overcame post eight and pulled off an upset score in the $18,000 co-featured Open Handicap Trot at MGM Northfield Park on Monday, Nov. 20.

Driver Billy Davis Jr. tried to put 7-1 shot Oberto into play early, leaving alertly from the outside, but he had several rivals gun from the gate to his inside. Unfortunately, Davis couldn't find a hole and, up the backstretch, found himself three-wide in the early stages with Up Helly AA (Aaron Merriman) cruising on the lead.

At the opening quarter in :27.4, the race had its first lead change with Winning Shadow (Chris Lems) striking the front and clearing Up Helly AA into the far turn. Winning Shadow worked out a :29.3 second-quarter breather, with Oberto, who tried to flush cover into the stretch, breathing down his neck.

Winning Shadow continued to put up the numbers on the approach to three-quarters, but as he eclipsed that fraction in 1:26.2, Oberto kept coming, getting within a quarter-length of the lead. The pair duelled to the top of the stretch, but Oberto found another gear through the stretch, drawing off to win by 2-1/4 lengths in 1:56. Up Helly AA dug in for second and Winning Shadow finished third.

Owned by Paul O'Neil and trained by Jessica Roegner, the talented son of Yankee Glide earned his second straight Open win and pushed his career earnings to $352,042.

Ron Burke trainee Night Shadow made things look easy in the $18,000 co-featured Open Handicap Pace as he stole the show in gate-to-wire fashion, winning his sixth straight race.

Both Dancin Dragon (Davis Jr.) and Makin Some Noise (Kurt Sugg) got the jump on Night Shadow (Wrenn Jr.) into the opening turn, with Makin Some Noise clearing Dancin Dragon leaving Night Shadow parked out. Wrenn wasted no time going after the lead, though, clearing at the quarter in :28.

Night Shadow was not challenged at all through the middle quarter, getting to the half in :56.4. That changed into the backstretch, as One Last Laugh (Hunter Myers) began to apply pressure with the Ideal Dancer A (Luke Ebersole) on his back second-over.  

At three-quarters in 1:24.3, Night Shadow put away both of those rivals but had to brace for Makin Some Noise, poised to strike from the pocket. Through the stretch, Night Shadow proved to be too good, winning by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.3. Makin Some Noise was second, with Dancin Dragon re-rallying to be third.

Owned by Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi, the son of Shadow Play pushed his career earnings to $122,365.

(With files from Northfield Park)