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Firedrake Fronts Running Aces Feature

Published: May 23, 2018 12:52 am ET

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The Tuesday, May 22 harness racing program at Running Aces was headlined by the $11,000 Open Handicap Pace, with a talented field of six facing the starting gate. Top billing went to Firedrake, winner of the 2017 Dan Patch Free-For-All Pace at Running Aces and a track record holder.

Firedrake with trainer-driver Nick Roland in the bike, left alertly from post 4 and took command early, pacing an opening quarter of :27.3 and then slowing to the half, timed in :58.1. The five-year-old gelding by Dragon Again coasted from there to the wire under ease, winning in 1:53.4 under a hand drive. Hard Cold Cash made a mild bid past the five-eighths pole, but was no match for Firedrake. Pocket-sitter Kiss On The Lips was able to secure second over a late bid from To The Limit.

Returning $4.40 to win, Firedrake is owned by Set The Pace Racing, LLC and now had three wins in nine starts this year.

For driver Tim Maier, the trip on Hard Cold Cash in the feature race, marked his return to the sulky after a 10-month hiatus from the track. His absence in the bike followed a racing spill last July. Management, staff, horsemen and fans from far and wide were all thrilled to see Tim back in the sulky. Tim and Cold Hard Cash finished fifth tonight, beaten less than five lengths, after a tough trip first over in a fast final half mile.

Stevensville made his presence when posting a gate-to-wire victory in a mile of 1:52.2 with trainer-driver Rick Magee. Stevensville powered away from the middle of the gate in post 4 to grab command, facing a strong challenge from Elusive Image during the final half mile. Stevensville fought off Elusive Image in the final quarter to keep his rival at bay. The final margin was one-half lengths. Stevensville is a seven-year-old stallion by Somebeachsomewhere and he is owned by Dr. Ken Rucker and Jana Lee Rucker of Wisconsin. Tonight’s tally was the 22nd win lifetime for the winner of $509,629. He paid $3.20 to win.

Buzz Light posted a sharp win in the final contest of the night, a $7,000 conditioned pace. From post 4, Buzz Light left sharply and secured second position behind the heavy race-favourite Storming D Odds. After being shuffled back to third, driver Nick Roland angled out just in time for a first-over bid at the half mile, and Buzz Light proceeded to grind first over, remaining in striking position until the homestretch, where he powered home to score a solid win over the favourite, with Crash and Burn checking home in third in the 1:55.3 mile. Buzz Light is owned by Cathy Dessert and trained by Nick Roland. Tonight’s victory was his third score this year, and sixth lifetime win.

A rare occurrence took place this night at Running Aces, as the last five races on the card were won by horses wearing saddlepad number 4, with nobody correctly selecting the 4-4-4-4-4 combination in the 20-cent Pick-5, nor anyone correctly playing 4-4-4-4 in the Late Pick-4 wager. Those two pools will now carry-over to Saturday night, May 26, with first race scheduled at 6:00 p.m. (CDT).

(With files from Running Aces)

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