Mother Nature was kind to the suburban Philadelphia area on Thursday (April 20) afternoon. The rain held off long enough to provide a delightful mix of sun, light wind, and comfortable temperatures for the 14-race program at Harrah's Philadelphia.
The featured event was a trot for non-winners of $20,000 in their last 5 starts, positioned as race 5 on the program. In a wide-open wagering board, the slight favourite was Blair and Erna Corbeil's Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno). The five-year-old son of Muscle Mass was coming off of a break from an outside post in an upper-conditioned level event at Yonkers. He performed solidly in his two outings before the miscue. The versatile Rich Johnson trainee settled into an early sixth shy of the quarter, as hall of fame driver Dave Miller fired Skates N Plates sharply off the wings. The six-year-old Andrew Harris charge set deliberate fractions of :27, :55. and 1:24, enjoying an uncontested lead for most of the mile. In the meantime, triple millionaire Market Share (Tim Tetrick) was progressing mildly first-over, after finding a good early spot just off the speed. Rubber Duck was able to latch on to that cover at the race's midpoint. Bongiorno sent the lukewarm public choice three-wide at the eighth, and was able to storm past the leader willingly to win by three lengths, stopping the clock in 1:52.2.
It was the first seasonal victory for Rubber Duck, and his ninth career triumph out of 51 starts. Skates N Plates finished second, while My Love Bi (Napolitano Jr.), who sat a loose pocket for a majority of the mile, settled for third.
In other action, Craparotta and Berry Racing's Glenferrie Dreamer (Pat Berry) sprung the upset (7-1) in the very next race, a trot for non-winners of $15,000 in their last five starts. He defeated the heavily-favoured Crosbys Clam Bake, who was sent out at odds of 1-5 and finished third after setting the tempo. Glenferrie Dreamer, who is trained by Traci Berry, set a lifetime mark of 1:52.4 with his 21st victory.
On the pacing side, three-year-old filly pacer Dr Js Kiss continues to impress since her arrival from South Florida. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere turned heads in her local debut last week, coming from off the pace to score in 1:53.2 in-hand in a non-winners of three race for fillies. She faced similar competition on Thursday, and as expected, was the heavy favourite. The result was similar. The Joe Pavia Jr. trainee quarter-brushed on this occasion, and once again was the easiest of winners in 1:53.3.
"She's been handling like a real professional," said driver Dave Miller. "She's been very strong both races. I don't know the reason, but she's come back very good this year." When asked what the future plans were for this potential filly star, Miller said the Sire Stakes in May are a good possibility.
Live harness racing continues Friday afternoon, with a first post of 12:40 PM. Harrah's Philly races live every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday with that 12:40 EST start time.
(with files from Harrah's Philadelphia)