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Big Game Hunter Headlines Winter Series

Published: February 14, 2016 2:33 am ET

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Big Game Hunter wore down the leader, Shadows Image, and edged past him in the lane to capture the fastest division of Saturday’s opening leg of the Winter Claiming Series for $20,000 claiming horses and geldings at The Meadows.

Valiente Stride and George Jettison took the other $15,000 opening leg splits. Aaron Merriman enjoyed a series double behind Big Game Hunter and Valiente Stride.

Big Game Hunter was out without cover down the backside, but was able to slip back to the cones at the three-quarters. That breather enabled him to down Shadows Image buy a head in 1:54.4 over a “good” surface. Mr Coolie rallied for show. Michael Dowdall trains the six-year-old Geartogear-Pennys Fortune gelding, who extended his career bankroll to $153,905, for Keith Pippi.

The card also featured the opening leg of the Winter Claiming Series for $10,000 claiming horses and geldings, with Waylon Hanover and BR Flying Dali each winning an $8,000 division.

Elsewhere on Saturday’s program, Rockin Ron made it three straight with a front-end score in 1:53 in the $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace. Doctor RJ closed well for place, four and three-quarter lengths back, while Dew N Doughnuts earned show despite a parked-out journey. Dave Palone drove the four-year-old Real Desire-Im All A Roan gelding, who now boasts $146,168 in career earnings, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and RTC Stables.

Palone piloted four winners on the 15-race card while Eric Ledford and Merriman each fashioned a triple.

(The Meadows)

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