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Merton Mastery At Plainridge Park

Published: June 8, 2017 9:16 pm ET

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Track announcer Lenny Calderone summed it up nicely when he said “Greg Merton is piping-hot!” after he won the ninth race, which was his seventh victory on the card. Those wins couple with one second in 10 starts gave Merton a lofty one-day UDR of .755.

Piping-hot Merton bested his previous high win total of six on one card this meet and sent the chalk bettors home happy in the process as none of his victories were overlooked by the public.

He won with Only Passing Thru ($2.10, 1:56.4), Moose Madness ($3.80, 1:57.3), City Pie ($3.80, 1:53.1), Mambo Lindy ($3.00, 1:55), Guiltywithanexcuse ($3.40, 1:56), Fancy Footwork ($5.00, 1:52.2) and Muscana ($3.40, 1:56.1).

Merton, who won the dash driving title at Plainridge last year, is now firmly in first place again with 66 wins on the young meet; 23 better than second place Kevin Switzer, Jr. who has 43.

Coming off a career year in 2016, Merton now has 4,310 wins lifetime and $18.3 million in purses earned.

Merton’s fourth win of the day came in the $15,000 Open Handicap trot with local favourite Mambo Lindy, who once again started off slow but finished strongest of all.

It was no surprise that Mistress Valentine (Mark Eaton) bolted for the lead of the gate, but she had to tussle with Namesmuscle (Mark Athearn) to get it. After clearing at the quarter in :27, Eaton hit the brakes and slowed the second panel to :30.3, stacking up the competition.

Out of that stack came Mambo Lindy and Merton from seventh, who made a bold move on the outside and continued to advance up the long back-straight. By the three-quarter pole Mambo Lindy had caught Mistress Valentine and continued to advance by her around the turn. At the head of the lane, Mambo Lindy was loose on the lead and pulled away to a comfortable three-length victory in 1:55 without any urging at all from his pilot.

It was the third straight win for Mambo Lindy ($3.00) and second straight Open feature score at Plainridge Park. The 6-year-old altered son of Donato Hanover is owned by Greathorse of Hampden, Ma and is trained by Frank Antonacci.

Mambo Lindy is eligible for the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot to be held at Plainridge Park on Friday (July 28).

Kevin Switzer, Jr. scored a driving double this day and trainers Frank Antonacci and Kyle Spagnola each saw two of their students enter the winner’s enclosure.

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday with post time set at 4 p.m.

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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