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Open Skies Leads Alliance Mares

Published: December 13, 2017 10:26 pm ET

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Of the two dozen $7,000 claiming distaff pacers who did battle in the first round of the Alliance Claiming Series on a cold and snowy Wednesday evening (Dec. 13) at Flamboro Downs, Open Skies ($5.10) proved fastest and grittiest with a hard-fought 1:58.1 triumph.

The four-year-old Skydancer Hanover mare and Robert Shepherd secured the pocket behind early pacesetter Just Blitzed (Colin Kelly) before brushing just beyond a :28 first quarter. After pulling the half back to :57.3, Open Skies was engaged in a third-quarter duel by the first-over Little Anna Mae (Jason Ryan) and was in fact headed with a quarter mile remaining. Despite ceding the lead briefly, an undeterred Open Skies dug deep to hold her ground, repelling Little Anna Mae’s challenge by half a length. Miss Dragonfire (Bob McClure) escaped traffic late to reach third.

Open Skies, who repeated after wiring similar company a week ago, earned her ninth win of the season and the 12th of her career for owner-trainer Jared Bothwell.

Argyle Alberwhosur ($8.50, McClure, 1:59.1) and Gossip Model ($26.90, J Harris, 1:59.3) took the other first-round Alliance Series divisions.

Pollar Hall captured his second consecutive victory, vaulting clear by 3-1/2 lenghts in a $9,000 top-level trotting event. Bruce Richardson drove the four-year-old Amigo Hall gelding to a 1:59.2 win over Ionia (Nick Steward) and Crystal Gumdrop (Alfie Carroll). Kevin Davidson owns and trains the 10-time winner.

Accidents Mar Wednesday Flamboro Card

A pair of in-race incidents resulting in drivers becoming unseated marred Wednesday’s program.

In the evening’s second race, favourite Boots N Brian stumbled badly amid his first-over ascent, caused driver Billy Davis, Jr. to be unseated, and also prevented Woodmere Violator from finishing the race. Bob McClure, the driver of Woodmere Violator, returned to drive in the subsequent race; Davis had no further assignments on the program.

In the seventh race, a chain-reaction incident sparked by Asterism (Scott Young) falling midway on the far turn and bumping into Rose Run Ranger (Colin Kelly) scattered the field and caused multiple drivers to be unseated, but race caller Gary Guy reported that all horses and drivers were able to leave the track on their own power within minutes after the race’s completion. The race was not voided, but the judges did order a full pari-mutuel refund after only four horses completed the course. Robert Shepherd booked off his remaining drives, while Colin Kelly booked off Lilys Penelope in the final race.

To view Wednesday’s harness racing results, click the following link: Wednesday Results – Flamboro Downs.

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