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Open Stars & Morrill Milestone At Pocono

Published: May 14, 2018 12:24 am ET

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Canadian-owned Will Take Charge, only a neck off last year’s Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover last week, recovered from an early break and circled the field from last to take the $30,000 open trot in 1:53.4 in 'good' going during Great Northeast Open Series action Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

In the $30,000 Great Northeast mares open pace, it was a late battle of powerhouse 2018 debutants to the wire as Agent Q, like Will Take Charge last most of the way, just caught first-over Pure Country by a nose in 1:52.3.

Will Take Charge was leaving for forward position when he made a break on the off surface and lost some seven lengths before righting. Tim Tetrick moved the gelded son of Kadabra out to third-over position, then heading to the far turn made a huge sweeping move in recovery that carried him to the lead just past midstretch and enabled him to pull away to a two-length victory over pocket-sitting Smalltownthrowdown in 1:53.2, with pacesetting Sutton another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Jeff Gillis conditions Will Take Charge, who did take charge of the Woodbine open trotting scene early this year and already has a 2018 scorecard of 10-5-3-1-$144,511, raising his bankroll over $700,000 for owner Mac Nichol.

Lady Shadow set the pace in the mares pace, with Pure Country going first-up after an early tuck, being trailed by favoured Nike Franco N. Pure Country showed great heart in grinding to the lead in the lane, but Agent Q, starting from the outside post eight, swung four-wide into the lane, was still last in the early part of the drive, but put together a huge last one-sixteenth for driver David Miller as she proved slightly more photogenic, with Nike Franco N finishing a half-length behind that pair.

Agent Q, a four-year-old daughter of Western Terror who was among the best of her class at ages two and three, certainly was impressive in her bow against the older distaffs. Trained by Chris Oakes for Crawford Farms LLC, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert Muscara, Agent Q has now won half of her 28 career starts and $1.2 million.

Sunday's program was also highlighted by a milestone win as driver Jim Morrill Jr. recorded his 7,000th victory going last to first with Indy Ingot in the 13th in 1:54.3 for trainer Joe Pavia Jr.

(With files from PHHA / Pocono)

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