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Grand Priority Surprises In Series Opener

Published: March 11, 2017 8:41 pm ET

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Grand Priority pulled the pocket just in time to get clearance and powered home to pull off a 23-1 upset in Saturday’s opening leg of the Walter Russell Memorial Pace at The Meadows. Art N Music took the other $12,500 division in the series for three and four-year-old colts, stallions and geldings.

The event honours the memory of the late Hall of Fame judge Walter Russell, who served with distinction at a number of venues.

Grand Priority was stalking Louies So Bossy down the backside when the outside flow started to close in. Brad Provost angled Grand Priority off the pylons, and the four-year-old Western Ideal-Joy Luck Hall gelding opened a daylight lead in an instant. He scored in 1:56, two lengths better than the 2-5 favourite, Indigo Art, with Gossip Boy third. William Provost trains Grand Priority and owns with Mary Smith and Trotwood Farms.

Grand Priority and driver Brad Provost winning a division of the Russell Memorial Series on March 11 at The Meadows. (Chris Gooden)

In the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, Lincolnjames wore down his stablemate, Mykindachip, with a relentless uncovered bid and downed him by a length for Mike Wilder, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Believeinthespirit earned show. The six-year-old Northwest-Winbak Lucy gelding extended his lifetime bankroll to $169,387.

Tony Hall, Aaron Merriman, Dan Rawlings and trainers Dirk Simpson and Burke each enjoyed a double on the 12-race card.

(The Meadows)

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