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Racing Hill A Dark Horse No More

Published: June 30, 2016 3:35 pm ET

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Trainer Tony Alagna thought Racing Hill came into this year flying under the radar, but the colt is getting his share of attention now following a second-place finish in the North America Cup and a win in his Max C. Hempt Memorial elimination last weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Racing Hill is the 5-2 morning line favourite for Saturday’s $500,000 Hempt final. The event, for three-year-old pacers, is part of Pocono’s Sun Stakes Saturday card that also features the Ben Franklin for older pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for three-year-old male trotters, and James M. Lynch Memorial for three-year-old female trotters.

A homebred colt for owner Tom Hill, Racing Hill has won six of 15 career races and earned $333,666. He won his Hempt elimination by three lengths over Katies Rocker in 1:49.1, which is the fastest mile of the season by a three-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track.

Racing Hill will start the Hempt final from Post 2 with regular driver Brett Miller.

“He came out of his elimination good and trained back good (Wednesday),” Alagna said. “It’s a competitive field of horses so we’ll see how it works out. A lot of the horses that drew outside are speed horses so I think there is going to be plenty of activity.

“As long as I bring the horse there in good shape, I’ll let Brett do the rest.”

Last year, Racing Hill won five of 10 starts, including divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes as well as his elimination for the Breeders Crown. He finished eighth in the Breeders Crown final, but was only five and three-quarter lengths back after a first-over bid around the final turn on a ‘good’ track at Woodbine.

“He kind of got a messed up trip in the Breeders Crown otherwise I think he would have done better,” Alagna said. “He had some really good races last year and kind of flew under the radar coming back this year for no real reason. He’s a quality horse and he’s showing that now.”

Racing Hill began this year with a nose loss to four-year-old Major War in 1:49.2 at the Meadowlands. In his next start, he was second to War N Munn in a conditioned race at Mohawk despite a :25.4 final quarter-mile. Then he finished third from Post 9 in his North America Cup elimination despite going off stride briefly in the stretch.

“I’ve always liked the horse,” Alagna said about Racing Hill, who is a son of Roll With Joe out of the mare Chasing Ideals. “He raced good last week and hopefully we have similar luck this week.”

Control The Moment, who was voted Canada’s top two-year-old male pacer last year, won the remaining Hempt elimination and will start the final from Post 8 with Randy Waples driving for trainer Brad Maxwell. Control The Moment, who captured his elim by a half-length over Boston Red Rocks in 1:49.3, is 7-2 on the morning line.

New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Katies Rocker is 4-1 and Boston Red Rocks, who received the U.S.-based Dan Patch Award for best two-year-old male pacer last season, is 5-1.

The Hempt Memorial field appears below, followed by the fields for the remaining stakes.

$500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial
(Race 10; estimated post time 9:31 p.m.)
PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML
1 – More Dragon – Jim Morrill Jr. – Ron Burke – 20/1
2 – Racing Hill – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna – 5/2
3 – Western Fame – George Napolitano Jr. – Jimmy Takter – 12/1
4 – JK Will Power – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 6/1
5 – Talk Show – Scott Zeron – Steve Elliott – 8/1
6 – Boston Red Rocks – Tim Tetrick – Steve Elliott – 5/1
7 – Katies Rocker – David Miller – Jim Campbell – 4/1
8 – Control The Moment – Randy Waples – Brad Maxwell – 7/2
9 – Big Top Hanover – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke – 15/1

$300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial
(Race 9; estimated post time 9:08 p.m.)
PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML
1 – JK Fannie – Jim Morrill Jr. – Nancy Johansson – 10/1
2 – I Said Diamonds – Matt Kakaley – Matias Ruiz – 5/1
3 – Newborn Sassy – Tim Tetrick – Jo Ann Looney-King – 4/1
4 – Lindwood Beachgirl – Yannick Gingras – Mark Steacy – 12/1
5 – Skinny Dipper – Scott Zeron – Ross Croghan – 20/1
6 – Darlinonthebeach – David Miller – Nancy Johansson – 3/1
7 – Pure Country – Brett Miller – Jimmy Takter – 5/2
8 – Blue Moon Stride – Andrew McCarthy – Mark Harder – 6/1
9 – Penpal – Pat Lachance – Pat Lachance – 15/1

$500,000 Ben Franklin
(Race 11; estimated post time 9:55 p.m.)
PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML
1 – Mel Mara – Corey Callahan – Dylan Davis – 6/1
2 – Shamballa – Scott Zeron – Rick Zeron – 8/1
3 – Wiggle It Jiggleit – Montrell Teague – Clyde Francis – 5/2
4 – State Treasurer – Tim Tetrick – Ian Moore – 15/1
5 – Sunfire Blue Chip – Brett Miller – Jimmy Takter – 12/1
6 – Freaky Feet Pete – Trace Tetrick – Larry Rheinheimer – 3/1
7 – Always B Miki – David Miller – Jimmy Takter – 4/1
8 – All Bets Off – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke – 20/1
9 – Rock N Roll World – Jim Morrill Jr. – Ron Burke – 30/1
10 – Always At My Place – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 10/1
Always At My Place starts from the second tier

$500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial
(Race 12; estimated post time 10:20 p.m.)
PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-ML
1 – Reigning Moni – Scott Zeron – Jimmy Takter – 10/1
2 – Hollywood Highway – John Campbell – Staffan Lind – 15/1
3 – Truemass Volo – Eric Goodell – Douglas Hamilton – 12/1
4 – Dayson – Jim Morrill Jr. – Ron Burke – 3/1
5 – Trolley – Marcus Miller – Erv Miller – 6/1
6 – Brooklyn Hill – David Miller – Jonas Czernyson – 5/1
7 – Southwind Frank – Yannick Gingras – Ron Burke – 5/2
8 – Dice Man – Ake Svanstedt – Ake Svanstedt – 20/1
9 – Bar Hopping – Tim Tetrick – Jimmy Takter – 4/1


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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