Dark Pool Wins $15,000 AHDC Final

Published: May 28, 2022 04:12 pm EDT

Dark Pool and driver Jake Stillwell copped the $15,000 American Harness Drivers Club Final on Saturday (May 28) at Freehold Raceway, while Bob Hechkoff and Warrior Way won the $9,000 consolation.

Dark Pool, who has been a series standout, was dismissed by the betting public and sent off at odds of over 14-1 but once Stillwell sent him to the front from the two-hole the rest of the field had little choice but follow him to the finish line. Oh, he had challenges along the way but the veteran nine-year-old rebuffed them all.

First to challenge was the 1-5 betting favourite Allindotime (Joe Lee) and he got to the leader's throat-latch but that was it. Also rebuffed were some longshots but they faded and as they did Dark Pool seemed to get stronger as he headed down the lane. When the finish-line camera flashed Dark Pool led runner-up Shoemaker Hanover(John Calabrese), who had come from far back to finish second some 2-1/4 lengths behind the winner.

It was the fifth seasonal triumph for Dark Pool who is trained by Paul Fusco for owner Barry Franklin.

In the consolation Hechkoff sent Warrior Way to the lead from the three-hole, and he gained command after the quarter was trotted in :29.2. But once on top Trump This (Tony Ciuffetelli) kept the pressure on the leader and they were side-by-side all the way to the top of the stretch . There, Trump This tired and as he did betting favourite Hallanet rushed up to challenge. But Warrior Way hung on gamely for a 1-1/4 length victory in 2:01.1. Hallanet was second and Watkins (Dave Yarock) took home the show dough.

Warrior Way is owned by R.B.H. Ventures and trained by Michael Russo. He paid $7.80 for the win.

Jim Marohn Jr. concluded the 2022 Freehold Raceway winter/spring meet in style, winning four races on the 12-race card.

Marohn didn't get his first win of the day until Race 6 when he guided Village Champ to victory for trainer Edwin Quevedo. He teamed with trainer Jeff Cullipher to win Race 7 with Cyclone Banner N, and again in the ninth race with Rau Ru. In the 10th race, Marohn completed the grand slam when East Beach won as the odds-on choice for trainer Bill MacKenzie.

Marohn entered the day three wins shy of Austin Siegelman for the winter/spring driving title, with 66 wins to Siegelman's 69. Siegelman drove home two winners on the Saturday card, finishing with 71 compared to Marohn's 70.

On the training side, Paul Fusco ran away with the title with 24 victories. Jenn Bongiorno, Brandon Mongiello, and Dennis Watson tied for second with 13 wins each.

Live racing at Freehold will resume on Friday, Aug. 26 when the summer/fall meet begins. First post time will be at about 12:30 p.m. (EDT). 

(with files from AHDC & Freehold Raceway)

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