The Tuesday night (July 11) harness racing program at Running Aces included the weekly $18,500 Open Pace and Handsome Harvey stepped up to the plate in a very big way to capture his fourth straight win.
The four-year-old son of Special Forces was making his first start at the top-level and was also looking to advance his seasonal win total to an even dozen. The public was on board and sent him off as the even-money choice, while they also heavily supported Schwartz Bros Pat (Todd Warren) at just over even money as well.
Trainer/driver Luke Plano eased Handsome Harvey away from the gate in third position while Schwartz Bros Pat and Maui (Mooney Svendsen) battled for the early lead and posted the opening quarter in 27 seconds.
Plano activated Handsome Harvey and brushed to the lead near the three-eighths marker and led comfortably through the middle stages in :55.1 and 1:23.1 while Schwartz Bros Pat followed intently in the pocket and Sneaky Hill (Brady Jenson) launched a first-over bid from fourth.
Handsome Harvey ($4) turned for home with the lead by just over a length before Schwartz Bros Pat emerged from the pocket with pace to make a race of it in the final sixteenth of a mile. The leader dug in gamely and made it home a winner by a neck in 1:51.4 to extend his win streak. The top two were 2-1/2 lengths clear of Sneaky Hill in third.
Handsome Harvey is owned by Plano as well as Dave Haness, and he now has 17 wins from 34 career starts and earnings of $97,345.
The Southwind Flash filly Baby Flash advanced to a perfect five-for-five lifetime with an impressive closing effort in the $22,000 Minnesota-sired freshman trot in 2:03.
Stablemates Bankers Grace (Nick Roland) and Banker’s Quest (Svendsen) traded the early lead before another stablemate – Insurrectionist (Plano) launched a first-over attack down the backside. The three Banker Volo progeny held the top positions all the way into the lane before Baby Flash ($16) got rolling from the back of the pack and swept by her rivals to post a half-length victory over Insurrectionist with Bankers Quest getting home in third.
It was the first pari-mutuel start and win for Baby Flash, who is owned by trainer Rick Huffman as well as Keith Wilson and Brenda Lovetinsky.
Drivers Dean Magee, Nick Roland and Luke Plano all posted triples on the Tuesday program.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Thursday night (July 13) with an 11-race program that will feature a carryover of $24,571.98 in the 20-cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager.