Trailing by 5-1/2 lengths at the three quarters and with no apparent path to victory, Darwin poured through a suddenly wide open Lightning Lane and triumphed in the opening leg of the Wilbur Zendt Memorial Pace on Friday (March 11) at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows.
Pack Your Bags took the other $10,000 opening leg in the series for three- and four-year-old colt and gelding pacers that honours the memory of Wilbur Zendt, a popular horseman who campaigned his stable throughout the region and was the patriarch of a family that has thrived at The Meadows through multiple generations.
When Hunter Myers pointed Darwin to the Lightning Lane, the lightly raced Always B Miki-Belle Boyd sophomore gelding responded like a seasoned veteran, downing Woody Two by a head in 1:54. Early leader Jaspers Revenge earned show. Norm Parker trains the winner for D Win Stable, Susan Altobelli, Richard Weaver and Gerald Bell.
Pack Your Bags turned back a number of challengers for Dave Palone to preserve his front-end victory in a career-best 1:55.2, 1/2 length better than I’ll Take The Bet, with Racing My Beamer third. Kevin Johnson conditions the four-year-old Betterthancheddar-Hope For Life gelding for Rockridge Racing Inc.
In Friday’s $17,600 Open Handicap Pace Torrin Hanover shot the Lightning Lane to score narrowly for Hunter Myers, trainer Paul Corey and owner Kenneth Ashba in a snappy 1:50. The seven-year-old Well Said-Transference gelding lifted his career bankroll over the $444,000 mark. Carolina Beach and Dorsoduro Hanover completed the ticket.
Palone collected three wins on the 11-race card.
Live harness racing at The Meadows resumes Wednesday when the 11-race program features a pair of carryovers — $23,446.41 in the Jackpot Pick 5 (Race 4), $2,857.77 in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 p.m.