It was a productive afternoon for trainer Shawn McDonough as two of his pacing mares posted victories in the main events at Buffalo Raceway on a crisp Wednesday (May 24).
Imprincessgemma A ($4.70) won the $15,500 Open Pace for the fillies and mares with a strong 2-1/4 length decision over Summer Slash in 1:54.2 while Delightful Summer ($6.20) made it a sweep for McDonough by wiring the field in collecting a length win over Bettor Country in the $11,500 sub-featured pace for the damsels.
It was a battle royal for early supremacy in the Open. Bank The Win and Miss Rockadali were stride-for-stride through the opening panel in a wicked :27.3 over the fast track. Those trying fractions would eventually spell doom for the front-runners.
Bank The Win showed the way through the half in :56 but was in retreat mode after that. Imprincessgemma A (Kevin Cummings), who was sitting fifth, pulled first over and brushed by to the top, hitting the three-quarter marker in 1:25.2. From there, Imprincessgemma A opened up a two-length advantage at the head of the stretch and put away Summer Slash (Ray Fisher Jr.) by 2-1/4 lengths while Miss Rockadali (Denny Bucceri) held on for third.
Owned by Elite Harness Racing LLC, nine-year-old Imprincessgemma A (Village Jolt-Melody Stride) earned her fifth win in 11 appearances this year. The triumph moved her earnings to $35,585 on the season and $544,635 lifetime.
While Imprincessgemma A had to use a bold move down the backstretch to highlight her victory, Delightful Summer (Jim Morrill Jr.) was rock solid in making it three straight wins by going coast to coast in a seasonal best of 1:54.4.
Delightful Summer put up reasonable splits of :28.1, :57.1 and 1:26.2 in setting the tempo. Bettor Country (Joseph Chindano Jr.) and A Black Diamond (Bucceri) were in perfect striking range of the pacesetter with a stanza to go. But Delightful Summer had other ideas and used a :28.2 last quarter to deflate the hopes of Bettor Country and A Black Diamond, who finished in second and third, respectively.
Owned by Crazy Parrot Farm LLC, Delightful Summer (Quality Western-Midsummer Delight) made her fourth trip to the winner's circle from 13 outings this year. The six-year-old has produced $24,298 in winnings on the campaign and $131,045 in her career.
Chindano Jr. showed the way for the drivers during the afternoon with a three-bagger while Morrill Jr. and David McNeight III each posted doubles. David Russo had two training victories.
Racing will resume on Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., with another 11-race card set.