The first leg of the Beat The Heat Pacing Series was contested in three $20,000 divisions on Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack.
The series is for aged pacers that are non-winners of $25,000 in 2012 as of May 31 (winners over $100,000 in 2011 are not eligible).
In the first division, Roadside Delight overcame a first-over trip to earn his second victory of the season for trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman and driver Scott Zeron.
The four-year-old gelding sat behind fractions of :27.1 and :55.2, which were put up by Pontiac Luck (Doug McNair). Before the half, Roadside Delight made a bid for command from third and poked a nose in front as they past the three-quarters in 1:23. The 9-5 favourite held on to win by a nose in 1:51.2. A late-rallying Bestinthebusiness (Luc Ouellette) finished second and Eagle Artesian (Sylvain Filion) was third.
“I was informed that he sees dead people out there so to be careful and make sure you have his attention at all times,” quipped Zeron. “In the race, it was just that. He is a little sporadic and gets a little rough-gaited every once in a while because he is leaping over absolutely nothing. I just fed him racetrack and let him do what he wanted. He hung tough. He is a tough horse.”
The son of Bettors Delight-Road Sign picked up his 10th win in 31 career outings, increasing his bankroll to $230,042 for owner David McDuffee. Roadside Delight paid $5.60 to win.
Keep It Real delivered as the 3-5 favourite in the second Beat The Heat dash and scored his fourth triumph of his six-year-old campaign.
Ultra Jimmy (Luc Ouellette) front-stepped his way through fractions of :25.4, :54.3 and 1:22.2. Keep It Real (Jody Jamieson), who caught second-over cover behind Trend Spotter (Sylvan Filion) at the half, was angled three-wide into the stretch. The Nick Surick trainee got under the wire first and stopped the clock in 1:51.2. Ultra Jimmy finished second by one and half lengths and Doin Time Together (Randy Waples) was third.
“He didn’t get much of a race his last start at Yonkers so I think he is relatively fresh,” said Jamieson following the win. “He obviously fits the condition because he had all the time off from last year.
“This was a horse that was third in the North America Cup [in 2009],” he continued. “He has the license to be a good horse and at one time he was a very good horse. But like all horses, he has his issues. I haven’t seen anything in there what can go with him as long as the draw is in our favour going into the next couple of weeks.”
The son of Real Artist-Magical Leah earned his 18th win in 48 career outings, increasing his lifetime earnings to $547,127 for owners JL Benson Stables Inc. and KDM Stables Corp. Keep It Real returned $3.50 to win.
In the third and final division, The Ladies Man went coast-to-coast to notch his third win of the year.
With driver Doug McNair in the bike, the Jim Ritchie trainee held the front through splits of :26.3, :56.1 and 1:25, before stopping the teletimer in 1:52.2.
Quinnman (Sylvain Filion) finished second by a neck and Lucky Terror (Scott Zeron) was third.
“He kind of busted out of there on his own,” said McNair following the victory. “He crossed over very handy. We got a soft middle half in him and he sprinted away from them. I hadn’t touched him with the whip. He only won by a neck, but he had it measured and knew where the wire was.”
The six-year-old gelded son of Modern Art-The Lady Is Lucky picked up his 19th win in 80 career outings, increasing his bankroll to $258,975 for Ontario owners Paul Ritchie of Orangeville, Jim Ritchie of Grand Valley and Murray Cox of Rockwood. The Ladies Man paid $7.10 to win as the second choice.
The $30,000 second leg of the Beat The Heat Pacing Series is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, with the $50,000 final slated for Saturday, July 7.
Saturday's weekly $38,000 Preferred Pace was won by the front-striding Ron Burke trainee Fred And Ginger and Scott Zeron in 1:49 flat over pocket-sitter Bettor Again (Mike Vanderkemp) while favourite Alsace Hanover (Randy Waples) came on for third. He paid $5.80 to win as the second favourite in the six-horse field.
To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.
(With files from WEG)