Wiseman Upsets; Keep On Rocking Wins

Published: June 23, 2020 09:01 pm EDT

Pat Berry and Chris Scicluna traveled from their east-coast base to Running Aces Casino & Racetrack on Tuesday (June 23), where they made their presence known with wins including the $10,000 Open Handicap Pace, which they captured with Keep On Rocking A.

Heza Real Diamond, the slight favourite, fired from post 6 fastest off the gate and quickly took control. Keep On Rocking A left alertly as well from post 7 and easily secured the pocket position, while Nine Ways settled into third and Royale Big Guy dropping into fourth. The early pace was moderate (:27.4, :56.3) before Roland asked for more from Heza Real Diamond, throwing a :27 third panel while taking heavy pressure from Keep On Rocking A who vacated the pocket.

Berry took the lead with Keep On Rocking A as they straightened for home and paced strong to cap the mile in 1:52 while Royale Big Guy shook free late to secure a clear second over Heza Real Diamond.

The winning margin was two lengths for Keep On Rocking A ($4.80), an eight-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover who is owned and trained by Chris Scicluna of Cranberry, NJ. This is the first season at Running Aces for both Berry and Scicluna, each of whom turned in a driving double on the card. Scicluna drove his other part of the owner entry in the Open (Major Pocket A) to pick up the pieces in fourth. Today's victory was win number 25 for Keep On Rocking A, who has now earned $243,742 lifetime.

Shesgotitgoingon ($3.20) dominated the $10,000 Mares Open Pace event in her seasonal debut with a confident steer from owner-trainer-driver Don Harmon. The four-year-old daughter of Tellitlikeitis yielded the lead, then took control just past the quarter and strolled from there to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:54.4. She is also owned by Krista Harmon. My Kiwi N was home second, and Juslikeaqueen secured third.

Defending "Aces" champion driver Dean Magee led the Tuesday card with three winners, all of them for trainer Williams Hernandez: Coz And Effect (1:53.4, $21.60), Im An Athlete (1:52.4, $3.80) and Future Delight (1:54.3, $25.20). Trainer Rick Bertrand also sent out two winners on the card: Night Girl (Kyle Husted, $18.80) and Haulin Oats (Nick Roland, $2.80).

Driver Steve Wiseman made headlines from Running Aces last week when he made his return to the sulky in a couple of qualifying races after undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the last several months. He last drove in races in early February at Cal Expo before getting a very serious stage-4 cancer diagnosis.

Wiseman immediately vowed that he would fight as hard as he possibly could, and do whatever it takes to beat the disease. He has undergone aggressive treatments since the diagnosis, and in fact just returned from a three-day trip home to Sacramento for another round of chemo. He got back to Minnesota on Friday night and drove Greekona to a fifth-place finish on Sunday.

He stepped up his workload for the Tuesday afternoon (June 23) program and steered Pedigree Blue Chip to a solid second-place finish in Race 2. Two races later, he piloted Queenace Blue Chip to a very good second, beaten only a half length as the race favourite. Later in the card he guided 9-1 shot Platinum Time to finish fifth while beaten less than three lengths.

Just two races after that "The Magician" made the magic happen. Wiseman sent 28-1 longshot Timetplaythegame right to the front from post 8 and wired the field with a three-length score in 1:54.4. It was the third win of the year for Timetplaythegame ($58.80), a seven-year-old gelded son of Badlands Hanover, owned and trained by his wife, Kathie Plested, and also owned by Mark Benvenga.

Wiseman was greeted by cheers and applause on his ride back to the winner's circle, and when he pulled off of the track and into the paddock area, he encountered an emotional embrace by good friend and fellow reinsman Lemoyne "Moonie" Svendsen. Hearts and emotions soared high today after Race 10 at Running Aces.

The final tally for the Magician was four races, one win, two seconds and a fifth. Not too shabby at all for any driver, but a spectacular day for a guy that is dealing with the drain and side effects of chemotherapy treatments. He is a beast, he is committed to doing whatever it takes, he is #WisemanStrong and he is indeed the resident "Magician" at Running Aces. Doctors report that he is responding remarkably to the treatments, and has seen a drastic reduction in tumors at each scan. The #WisemanStrong community continues to pray for his full recovery, and marvel at each and every small miracle in his journey. Steve is one of the good guys, and today was a good day for a very good guy.

Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday (June 27) with first post at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) and a carryover of $1,404.73 in the 20 cent Jackpot Pick-5.

(with files from Running Aces)

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