Treacherous Penny Defeats Northfield Open Mares

Treacherous Penny winning at Northfield Park
Published: December 24, 2023 01:05 am EST

Treacherous Penny returned to winning ways on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 23 with a gutsy victory in the $18,000 co-featured Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at MGM Northfield Park.

Aaron Merriman wasted no time putting favourite Treacherous Penny, a three-year-old daughter by Captaintreacherous, on the lead, clearing inside rivals easily through the opening turn. She led her foes into the backstretch before being overtaken by Smothastenesewisky (Ryan Stahl) approaching a torrid opening quarter of :27.1 over the sloppy track.

Into the far turn, Merriman guided Treacherous Penny to the outside and worked their way back to the front. They got to the half in an uncontested :56.4, and while the outer flow developed in the form of Alexa Skye (Billy Davis Jr.) and Think Of Galaxies (Chris Lems), neither posed a serious threat to the lead.  

At three-quarters in 1:24.3, it appeared Treacherous Penny might be gone, but through the stretch, Alexa Skye and Smothastenesewisky found another gear and tried to overtake her. Treacherous Penny dug in through the stretch to win by a head in 1:54. Alexa Skye was second, with Smothastenesewisky and Rockabillycockshut (Luke Hanner) completing the top four.

Owned by Micki Rae Stables LLC and trainer Tim Twaddle, the talented filly added a ninth win to her resume in 19 seasonal starts following a winless rookie campaign. The victory pushed her earnings over the $200,000 mark.

Muscles For Life wins GLADA Trot

Muscles For Life proved, for the 48th time, he still has the“muscles for winning as the 10-year-old Muscle Mass gelding won the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association’s (GLADA) Saturday night special at Northfield.

Steve Oldford was, again, in the sulky to give his charge the trip he likes—on the front end—as this grand trotter has won more than half of his lifetime races going gate to wire since his first win north of the border in 2015.

On this raw, 42 degree night on a sloppy racetrack, Oldford, the author of more than 200 wins himself, left no doubt on strategy, as Muscles For Life pushed the starting gate out of his way, repelled a challenge with a hot :27.4 opener on the cold night and rated mid-race panels of :57.2 and 1:27.2 and, under slight urging, was three-parts-of-a-length the best at the wire in 1:57.2. Brigitto (Henry Beachy) closed fastest of all to be second while So Wishfull (Larry Ferrari), leaving from the outside post and forced to be near the back of the pack throughout, rallied for third.

At the outset, Muscles For Life was on the bit with Dontyousayit (Mark Rocokvich), but the latter was caught five-wide around the opening turn and it took a bit of time to muster up his opening quarter-mile challenge to find the garden spot with Ursis Des Collins (Jacob Baird) next.

Positions remained that way past the third station when both Brigitto and So Wishfull took up the chase…but in vain. 

After the race, Oldford related, “He’s been with me a long time—going on five years—and he has that will to win and, when he draws well, he usually does well, and tonight was no different. All the credit goes to 'Muscles' as he’s the one that got me home first."

Trained by Allen Sisco for owner Jerrold Hawkes, Muscles For Life sent his yearly scorecard to 5-2-1 in a lightly raced 12 starts, good for $23,075 this year and $544,041 lifetime.

Off at even-money on the toteboard, Muscles For Life paid $4.20 to his many faithful.

Oldford continued, “He’s pushing two milestones now—50 wins and $500,000 [USD]—and he sure has the heart to do it!”

Favourites falter in Progress Claiming Series

 The Progressive Claiming Series is always a popular hit with horsepeople, but on Saturday, it was popular with racing fans, producing some of the best races of the night at Northfield.

The 15-race, action-packed program featured the $5,000, $15,000 and $25,000 claiming series finals.

Sunshineinmypocket, driven by Merriman, got hot at the right time, taking advantage of a contested early pace and scoring a victory late in the $15,000 claiming final for fillies and mares.

In a wild race from the beginning, stablemates St Lads Gidget (Luke Hanners) and Douwantobldasnoman (Greg Grismore) left alertly and duelled each other into the first turn. While St Lads Gidget came away with the lead, things got dicey for Grismore, who ended up parked through the opening quarter of :28.

Hanners was able to work out a breather, getting to the half in :57.4, as he began to brace for a challenge from race Royaltys Dreamer (Hunter Myers) and Sunshineinmypocket, who began a first and second-over bid for the lead.  

Royaltys Dreamer got within a head of the lead and appeared like she may go by at three-quarters in 1:26.1, but St Lads Gidget found more at the inside and put away her foe mid-way around the far turn. Who she couldn't hold off was Sunshineinmypocket as that mare tipped three-wide and motored by late to win by two lengths in 1:55.4. St Lads Gidget hung on for second while favourite Mainline Charmer (Drew Neill) closed to be third.

The win was the eighth of the season in 41 starts and the 26th career victory for Sunshineinmypocket, who is trained by Jodi Schillaci and owned by Schillaci Stables, Sam Bova Racing and Jennifer Kanieski. The daughter of Dali has now amassed more than $200,000 in purses.

Another favourite would go down in the $20,000 Progressive Claiming Series final for filly and mare $25,000 claimers, as Ideal Destiny (Merriman) got nailed late down the stretch by Jillian B Miki (Elliott Deaton) in 1:54.3. Tye Loy trains and co-owns the winner with Richard Gillock.

In the final Progressive Claiming Series final for filly and mare $5,000 claimers, another favourite was defeated as Carmen N The Devil (Tyler Angus) won easily in gate-to-wire fashion in 1:55.4 for trainer Harla Loney and ownr Dustin Arledge.

When racing resumes on Tuesday, Dec. 26, there will be a lot for bettors to be excited for, with several features including a pair of $18,000 Open events, four Progressive Claiming Series finals and a pair of $25,000 estimated pools.

The action heats up with a first post of 6 p.m., with the first featured event happening early in the card as Joggingtothebank (Elliott Deaton) looks to make it back-to-back wins in the $18,000 Open Trot.

The $18,000 Open Pace features some new shooters, including Stranger Things (Brady Brown), fresh off a win in the $15,000 Open I at Batavia Downs.

Later in the program, The Bus A (Aaron Merriman) will try to continue to reign supreme following a 10-length victory in last week's third leg of the Progressive Claiming Series. The final for $5,000 claiming pacers goes for a purse of $7,500.

The wildly competitive Progressive Claiming Series for $25,000 claiming trotters has been something to see each week, with six of the nine competitors scoring victories at various points of the series. There has yet to be a real standout thus far and the $20,000 final is expected to be contentious.

New shooter JWs Chrome (Drew Neill) earned his way into this week's $20,000 Progressive Claiming Series final with a victory in leg three of the series last week. 

In the final Progressive Claiming Series final, Real McCoy (Billy Davis Jr.) will try to make it a perfect four-for-four with a victory.

Tuesday's card also features some elevated wagering pools with the $1 Pick-4 in Race 11 expected to hit $25,000 and the 20-cent Super Hi-5 in Race 13 expected to get to $25,000. Both wagers feature a low 14 per cent takeout.

(With files from Northfield Park & GLADA)

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