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Franklin Hopefuls Racing For A Cause

Published: June 23, 2017 11:12 pm ET

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Three of the fastest, most talented and durable pacers to grace the North American racing scene in this decade will head postward on Saturday night (June 24) in eliminations for the Ben Franklin Free-for-All Pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono to help bolster the winnings of The Stable That God Loves.

McWicked, Luck Be Withyou and Sunfire Blue Chip, all star performers of The Stable That God Loves with combined career purse earnings of $4,544,376, have race records, important stakes victories and career purse earnings that would make any horseperson jealous. They have much in common, all taking their lifetime marks over Pocono’s five-eighths mile track, all with distinguished sophomore seasons, and the pair of McWicked and Sunfire Blue Chip both spending time in the breeding shed.

Ed James’ McWicked, who concluded his award-winning sophomore year with $1.48 million in purses and was voted Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year in both Canada and the U.S. over Always B Miki, toured the Pocono oval in 1:47.3. During his brilliant three-year-old campaign, the handsome bay son of McArdle, now six years old, captured the Hempt (in world record time), the Adios, the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Final, the Breeders Crown and Progress Pace. With $1,928,866 in career earnings heading into the Ben Franklin, the Casie Coleman-trained speedster is poised to attain the $2 million plateau in 2017.

McWicked is fresh off an impressive victory in the Mohawk Gold Cup and sports a 12 5-2-0 season’s record. He is the 5-2 morning line favourite and will leave from the rail position with Dave Miller in the sulky in the $35,000 second elimination with a field of seven.

John Craig’s Luck Be Withyou, who races out of the Chris Oakes Stable for his U.S. appearances, practically owns the Pocono racing strip. The six-year-old son of Western Ideal has recorded his seasonal best there in each of his five years of racing, winning 15 of 22 times with two of those victories recorded in his two trips to the winner’s circle this year. His two key victories at the mountain oval were the Breeders Crown at two and the Franklin Final at four.

Luck Be Withyou last year established his lifetime mark of 1:47.4 in the $75,000 Franklin Consolation, demolishing a field of eight. He will leave from the outside post seven with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike in the $35,000 elimination scheduled as race 11. He sports a 6 2-1-1 season’s record and is 3-1 on Pocono’s morning line.

Sunfire Blue Chip, owner of a $1,215,939 career bankroll, is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine. The seven-year-old son of American Ideal bred 37 mares in 2015. He sat out more than a year because of his work at stud, but returned to the races in 2016, posting a respectable 25 5-5-4 record. He enjoyed an excellent three-year-old campaign, winning the Adios and eliminations of the Messenger, Tattersalls, Hempt and the Empire Breeders Classic. He fashioned his career mark of 1:48.3 as a three-year-old at Pocono.

Sunfire Blue Chip is listed at 6-1 on the morning line and will score from post six, alongside Luck Be Withyou, in the third Franklin elimination with Dave Miller at the reins.

The first three finishers in each of the three eliminations of the Franklin will clash in the $500,000 Final on Saturday, July 1.

A percentage of the 2017 purse earnings of The Stable That God Loves, including McWicked, Luck Be Withyou and Sunfire Blue Chip, will be donated to support the important work of the Standardbred Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada.

Since humble beginnings in 2015, The Stable That God Loves has grown in stature and popularity and been a potent force for good raising much needed funds to provide for the human needs of the horse racing workforce in southwestern Ontario.

Stalls are always available in The Stable That God Loves. Each and every pacer or trotter, regardless of ability, is welcome and guaranteed a stall.

Please send requests for stall space to Ken Middleton: [email protected], or Norm Clements: [email protected].

For regular up to date postings, follow The Stable That God Loves on Facebook and on Twitter @StableGodLoves.

(With files from The Stable That God Loves)

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