World Record Speed For Will Take Charge

Published: May 27, 2018 04:02 pm EDT

The North American harness racing world had its eyes on Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon (May 27), as the Maxie Lee Memorial, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry headlined a strong 14-race card from the Pennsylvania oval.

After the PA sire stakes and Great Northeast Series splits helped kick off the program (recaps of which appear below the invitational recaps), the first of the $150,000 tilts – the Maxie Lee for invitational trotters – took to the track for Race 10, and it was the Jeff Gillis-trained and Tim Tetrick-driven Will Take Charge who put forth a track record performance for owner Mac Nicol of Burlington, Ont.

In addition to being a new track record, the 1:50.3 clocking also equalled the world record for an aged trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track.

Sent away from Post 4 at odds of 5-2, Will Take Charge ($7.40) got away forth, and sat in that position as Crazy Wow (driven by Yannick Gingras) cut the quarter in :26.4.

Will Take Charge, a gelded son of Kadabra, was out and racing in the second quarter, and was first-up in second as Crazy Wow hit the half-mile marker in :54.4. The rest of the field was positioning itself for bids in the third quarter, but it was still Crazy Wow and Will Take Charge that were pushing the tempo at the 1:22.4 third call.

The duo was still game in the stretch, as neither was willing to give an inch. Will Take Charge overtook Crazy Wow in the lane, and still had enough to fend off the Scott Zeron-driven Marion Marauder. Marion Marauder had raced second-over for much of the mile and fanned off cover late. Marion Marauder got up for second, while Crazy Wow held on for third.

Will Take Charge's mile was clocked in a sharp 1:50.3, which went down as new track record for aged gelded trotters. The performance also equalled the world record for an aged trotting gelding on a five-eighths-mile track. The mark was previously held solely by Sevruga, who achieved the feat over Pocono Downs in the summer of 2013.

“It’s a bit windy and tough on the front today,” Tetrick said afterward. “[Will Take Charge] was strong today. He had a tough trip, but he got it done.”

Tetrick went on to say that his charge “raced a super race” and “finished it off well.”

The Betsy Ross Invitational for pacing mares was next on the docket (Race 11), and it was the Jim King Jr.-trained and Tim Tetrick-driven Shartin N that prevailed in 1:49.3 after a slight delay and recall.

After having started from Post 4, Shartin N ($4.40) settled into the four hole, as Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) went down to the quarter in :26.3. Tetrick had his charge out and moving in the second quarter, as Shartin N was gunning for the new leader (Pure Country, driven by Yannick Gingras) at the :54.4 half.

Shartin N continued to put in a lot of work in the third quarter. He had cleared to the lead and stormed down to the three-quarters-of-a-mile marker in 1:21.1.

Realizing that he had asked a lot from his charge, Tetrick went to work on Shartin N in the lane in an effort to hold off his rivals. It was Blue Moon Stride (Corey Callahan) that really came calling late, but Tetrick was able to stay up and hit the wire in 1:49.3.

Blue Moon Stride settled for second, while Divas Image (Joe Bongiorno) secured third.

“I was worried about her clearing to the lead, but not after that,” King said in a post-race interview.

Shartin N, a five-year-old bay by Tintin In America, is owned by Richard Poillucci and Joann Looney-King.

The Commodore Barry for invitational pacers followed in Race 12, and it was the Ron Burke-trained and Yannick Gingras-driven Confederation Cup winner Filibuster Hanover that got the job done in a very sharp 1:48.3.

Longshot Mach It So (George Napolitano Jr.) surprised some with an early move from Post 8. Mach It So flashed some big speed as he smoked the fractions (:26, :53.3, 1:20.4). Gingras, who picked up on the longshot early, was able to tuck for a garden trip from the get go. Gingras pulled the pocket after the white-hot splits and it was game over from there.

Filibuster Hanover ($4.40) stepped on the gas when he was shown clear track. He went on to stop the clock with ease in 1:48.3. Heaven Rocks A (David Miller) finished second and Rodeo Romeo (Andrew McCarthy) edged McWicked out for third.

“He’s super sharp,” Gingras said afterward. “He’s come back great and is getting better and better each start.”

Commenting on Mach It So, who did the legwork in the mile, Gingras said,” Mach It So is a good horse – I knew he could take me where I needed to go.”

Burke (Burke Racing Stable LLC) trains Filibuster Hanover for his partners, Joseph Di Scala Jr., J And T Silva Stables LLC, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

The big card included three $30,000 divisions of the Great Northeast Open Series, for horses not racing in the Invitational features.

One may wonder how the defending Horse of the Year didn’t get in the Invitational, but there is a simple explanation: trainer Ron Burke already had a Maxie Lee Trot horse in the veteran Crazy Wow, so Hannelore Hanover went in the Great Northeast race for trotters. And ‘Hannelore’ was sharp off a 22-day layoff in what was her second start of the year. She went for the lead with Yannick Gingras, backing off the half to :57, then sprinted home in :55.2 / :27.2 under minimal urging. Her 1:52.2 final clocking equalled the track record for older trotting mares, which was first established ten years and two days earlier, by Buck I St Pat, who did it while winning the inaugural Maxie Lee Trot.

Hannelore Hanover now has 38 lifetime victories from 60 trips behind the gate. Her earnings now stand at $2,573,677 for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables LLC.

In the Open Pace, the Bettors Delight gelding Bettors Edge was hustled away from the gate by driver Scott Zeron. He then yielded to Check Six and sat in the pocket until headstretch. When Bettors Edge was called on in the lane, he muscled right by with minimum urging to win in 1:49.3. The victory raised his career earnings to $2,109,982 for trainer Jennifer Lappe, co-owner of the rugged nine-year-old with Robert Santagata.

L A Delight overcame a difficult first-over journey and was a ‘drawing-clear’ winner in the Mares Open Pace. She tripped the timer in 1:50.2 and gave Gingras a pair of Great Northeast victories, both of which came with mares. Courtesy of the victory, the daughter of Bettors Delight raised her career earnings to $1,391,574 for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners Diamond Creek Racing.

There were two divisions of the $159,440 first preliminary leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. In one division, Sidewalk Dancer looked pacesetting favorite Kissin In The Sand in the eye around the far turn, then paced away late to lower her mark by two seconds to 1:50.3. The daughter of A Rocknroll Dance was guided by Brett Miller for trainer Chris Oakes and the partnership of Northfork Racing Stable, Omar Beiler, and Dennis Collins.

In the other section, the Somebeachsomewhere filly Serene Stride posted her fifth victory in an undefeated 2018 campaign, as she roared uncovered down the backstretch to the lead at the three quarters en route to a three and a half-length victory while taking a new mark of 1:51.3. Eric Carlson was in the sulky behind the trainee of red-hot Mark Harder, with owners Emilio and Maria Rosetti possibly watching their filly extending her form streak – at 3:30 a.m. Monday in New South Wales, Australia.

Finally, a world record was set for a five-eighths-mile pace on a five-eighths-mile track. The Relentless Yankee gelding Toatsmygoats bulleted out of the outside Post 8 and sat the pocket behind 25-1 polesitter Perseverant’s take-no-prisoners fractions (:25.4 and :53.3). Toatsmygoats then came out in the lane and overhauled the pacesetter by a neck in 1:07.1 at the sprint distance for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer Nick Surick, and the ownership of Engel Stable of IL LLC and J L Benson Stables Inc. The clocking erased the former standard of 1:08 set by Winyard Hanover at Pompano near the end of 2017.

(With files from PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia)

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