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'Digger King' Gets The Gold

Published: April 3, 2021 8:57 pm ET

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Gold Digger King pulled a mild upset over co-favourite GD Western Joe and My Hero Ron in Saturday’s $23,000 Open I Handicap Pace at Miami Valley.

The five-year-old son of Pet Rock, trained by Scott Mogan for owner Linda Van Camp, was making just his second start of 2021 after a stellar 2020 season when he won eight and was runner-up on five other occasions in just 18 starts. His 1:50.1 clocking established a lifetime mark for the earner of $269,137.

Driver Tyler Smith negotiated a pocket ride throughout the tilt after forcing GD Western Joe to a :27 opening quarter before turning him loose. Page got a brief breather for his charge before reaching the :55.2 halfway point, but was forced to go :26.4 to repel first-up challenger Dojea Gizmo in the third quarter. When clearance appeared at the head of the lane, Gold Digger King sprinted past a stubborn GD Western Joe to secure the victory.

The winner paid $10.60 and the exacta returned $35.20.

The championship of the annual Tom Tharps Memorial series was also contested for a $30,000 purse. The top three finishers were noses apart as Velocity Poprocks threaded traffic to nip Hamsandwich and Thrasher in the evenly-matched field of finalists.

“I thought I was in great shape at the three quarters, in third over position after three straight :27 (and change) quarters,” said a relieved Sutton immediately after the race. “Then he dove in a little coming off the final turn and I had to straighten him up. After that I had to get lucky to just barely get up at the wire.”

Mark and Sylvia Evers’ Velocity Standardbreds Stable own Velocity Poprocks, a six-year-old by Pet Rock who missed his entire five-year-old season. A 1:51.2 winner in the first preliminary leg of the Tharps series, Velocity Poprocks was roughed a little in the second preliminary, but bounced back for this 1:51.4 score.

The winner paid $14.40 to his mutual faithful. The exacta kicked back $138 and a winning 50-cent trifecta ticket was worth $302.15.

A $20,000 Open II Pace produced another stirring stretch duel between a pair of seven-year-old sons of American Ideal. American Dreamer prevailed over American Firewater by a neck in 1:51.4.

Miami Valley will be dark on Easter Sunday, but will present 2:05 p.m. (EDT) matinees on Monday (April 5) and Tuesday (April 6).

(Miami Valley Raceway)

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