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'Thunda,' Maze Surge Late At Aces

Published: June 4, 2021 9:55 am ET

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A trio of feature events headlined the Thursday night (June 3) card at Running Aces, including two divisions of the Minnesota-sired sophomore pace.

The $15,000 “A” division featured a rematch of last week’s top two finishers: SD Watchmenow (Brian Detgen) took the top prize in the last outing and was a slight wagering favourite to repeat in this week’s contest, sent off as the 4-5 choice. SD Watchmenow was fastest from the gate and easily found the lead from post four, while Alilthundadownunda (Nick Roland) left alertly from post two to secure pocket position. The leader stole a moderate :59 opening half mile with no challengers and no pressure. The tempo quickened in a :27.3 third panel, and the top two began to separate from the rest of the pack. Turning for home, it was clearly a two-horse race to the wire. Roland steered Alilthundadownunda ($4.40) into the passing lane and had just enough steam to surge past the leader in the final strides, winning by a half length in a career best 1:54.3. SD Watchmenow was game in the narrow defeat, and the pair was seven lengths ahead of long shot Brooklyn Wind Up (Brady Jenson), who checked in third.

The winner is a gelded son of Malak Uswaad N and Wild About Eagle. He now shows three wins in eight starts this year for owners Set The Pace Racing. Roland is also the trainer.

The $10,000 “B” split went to Maze, a filly who is also sired by Malak Uswaad N. She rallied from third at the top of the lane to draw away and win by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2 with Adam Hauser at the controls. Twisted Bliss (Brandon Jenson) was second best, and pacesetter Starstruck Cowgirl (Rick Magee) was third. The winning mile was a new career mark for Maze ($4.60), who now has four career wins for owner-breeder Bernard Nanke. The winning trainer is Alexia Kehl.

The $11,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was an action-packed contest from start to finish, despite being scratched down to a field of five. Hottieonthehorizon (Nick Roland) was fastest early from the outside spot, but had to yield to an early attack by Something To Me (Brian Detgen), who surged from the pocket at the :27 quarter to lead until just past the half in :57. Its Pacific Time (Rick Magee) was next to launch a strong bid, brushing up to apply heavy pressure and take control around the far turn, where they completed three-quarters in 1:25.2. The entire field was in contention as they rounded for home, and the closers had the most pace to the wire — Anna B (Brady Jenson) rallied from fourth to take the lead in mid-stretch, but Oneida Blue Chip (Mooney Svendsen) closed rapidly from last and got home a head in front of Anna B in 1:53.2.

Oneida Blue Chip has now won four of 14 starts this season and 22 lifetime, with a career bankroll of $219,453. The winner is owned by Barbara Arnstine and trained by Kathie Plested-Wiseman.

Rojo Caliente (Tony Kerwood, $2.80) turned in another sharp gate-to-wire win in a $6,200 conditioned pace to become the first horse to advance to three-for-three on the Aces meet. The four-year-old mare is owned by Susan Holm-Johansen and also owned and trained by Ulf Holm-Johansen.

Driver Jacob Cutting led the Thursday program with his second consecutive hat trick, including a winning steer on $49.60 winner Outlawintriguedbyu for trainer Ariel Alvarez for the highest win mutuel of the meet so far.

Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (June 6) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT), a carryover in the 20-cent Jackpot Pick-5 wager of $9,349.55, and a $5,000 guaranteed pool in the 50-cent Late Pick-4.

(Running Aces)

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