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Strong Hope Sets Track Record

Published: April 22, 2016 8:48 pm ET

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Sooner or later, Strong Hope is going to make believers out of the betting public. And after setting a new track record on Friday night (April 22) in the $10,000 Open Trot at Buffalo Raceway, at last he might get the well earned respect.

For the third straight race, Strong Hope was shunned at the betting windows and proved his doubters wrong once again with an impressive victory in 1:57.1 over the fast track. The time shattered the old standard of 1:58.1 for aged trotting stallions (five years old and up) set in 2014 by Armed Dangerously.

It was the third straight double-digit win for Strong Hope, who returned $11.80 for the comfortable one and a quarter length victory over Northern Bullet. Strong Hope now has $17.40 and $53.50 win prices to his credit during his current streak.

In the feature, Lutetium set some wicked fractions of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:27.1, which was a perfect set up for the hard-charging Strong Hope. Going first over past the half, Strong Hope (Ray Fisher Jr.) made steady progress toward the top and was in command at the head of the lane. Northern Bullet (Jim Morrill Jr.) finished a non-threatening second while Lutetium (Todd Cummings) held on for third.

Owned and trained by Joe Agostino, the nine-year-old Strong Hope (Cr Excalibur-Spring Lane Joanie) earned his fourth win in 14 starts this season. The victory upped his 2016 winnings to $26,266 and lifetime bankroll to $540,410.

And while Strong Hope continued his winning ways, so did driver Jim Morrill Jr. He recorded another seven-bagger, including a stretch of five in a row. Morrill Jr. now has posted 59 victories at Buffalo Raceway in 119 starts. It was the fourth time this season he has had seven wins on a card at the Hamburg half-mile oval. While flirting with the record, Kevin Cummings' mark of eight wins set on June 11, 2005 still stands.

Trainer JD Perrin had three wins and Agostino two on the card. Ray Fisher Jr. doubled in the sulky.

(With files from Buffalo Raceway)

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