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Western Stepp Best At Plainridge

Published: April 18, 2019 8:53 pm ET

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Western Stepp spent the winter in Florida and went 0-for-8 at Pompano, although finishing second by a head and a nose in her last two starts there. But in only her second start back at Plainridge Park where she captured five races last year, Western Stepp got back to her winning ways by taking the $14,000 Winners-Over featured pace for fillies and mares in gate to wire fashion on Thursday afternoon (April 18).

Western Stepp (Mitchell Cushing) flew off the wings and had the front by the eighth pole, seating an aggressive Always Be Lucy (Shawn Gray) in the process. She got to the quarter in :27.2 before tapping the brakes and slowing the second panel to :57.2. It was there that last week’s feature winner Spilling The Beans (Mike Stevenson) pulled first up and drew almost even with the leader.

As the pair paced up the backside, Spilling The Beans matched strides with Western Stepp but couldn’t get the advantage. When they hit three-quarters in 1:25, Cushing fed his mare some line and she obliged him with a burst of speed. Western Stepp put away Spilling The Beans and established a two-length advantage coming into the stretch. Cushing continued pushing her by bouncing in the bike for the length of the lane and won by two wrapped-up in 1:53.3.

It was the 28th lifetime tally for Western Stepp ($3.80) who is owned by Diane Dunn and trained by James Dunn.

Cushing also took the $12,000 co-featured conditioned fillies and mares pace with Twin B Halo who tipped three-wide from fourth midway through the final bend to overpower Cantala (Nick Graffam) mid-stretch and win by a length in 1:55.4.

Twin B Halo ($4.80) is owned by Bill Reepmeyer and Jackie Greene, who also does the training.

Drew Campbell and Mike Stevenson both had driving doubles on the card as well.

There were some huge payouts in the day’s fourth race when the favoured Bliss And Luck (Paul Silva) was disqualified for interference. That allowed the 26-1 Fox Valley Salsa (Shane Taggart) to be moved into the win position by the judges where she returned $54.60. But the hammer really fell when the $2 trifecta of 7-1-6 doled out $20,998.60 and the $2 7-1-6-all superfecta returned $14,519.60.

When racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (April 19) at 4:00 p.m., there will be a carryover pool of $1,590.51 for the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta in the sixth race.

(with files from the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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