Sophomore Muscle Hill colt Rome Pays Off, who finished second in the Breeders Crown last fall, had missed the board in four qualifiers before his seasonal debut Thursday afternoon (July 16) at Harrah’s Philadelphia. That trend has now certainly changed.
Rome Pays Off, who hails from the stable of Marcus Melander, lowered his mark to 1:54.2 on Thursday over the Pennsylvania oval.
Conditioned by the United States' 2019 Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander and driven by his brother, Mattias, Rome Pays Off was handled cautiously in the early part of his Thursday assignment. Rome Pays Off didn't claim the lead until he neared the second turn, but he was able to turn back his opposition easily in what ended up being a three and a half-length victory. The SRF Stable and Marcus may be doing a quick reappraisal of the three-year-old’s fitness and potential over the next couple weeks.
Jailhouse Jesse gelding Bully Boy, who had been undefeated in three seasonal starts prior to making a break in his last outing, got back on the winning track on Thursday with a 1:54.2 victory, despite having started from the outside Post 8. Dexter Dunn, who worked his horse to the lead early and never looked back, tallied the win for trainer Jenny Melander and owner Risto Vidgren.
The Dejarmbro gelding Stormy Kroner looks like he could fit into anybody’s Open class right now, as he won a 'fast class' trot with full authority in a mark-lowering 1:51.4. The winner of $350,474 was driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Paul Stafford and owner Thomas Ceraso Jr.
Bold Goddess won a driving five-horse finish up the inside in the sixth race and paid $121.00 to win for driver Andy Miller and trainer Ken Hess Jr. This sort of 'lightning from the sky' is not unprecedented for Bold Goddess, who paid $116.20 to win at Harrah's Philly on September 15, 2018.
Dancing Lew had no such history of monumental upsets before he paid $144.60 to win Thursday in Race 11 (the youngster had broken in his only other start for driver Montrell Teague and trainer Kelvin Switzer).
Thursday proved to be the first occasion that Philly had seen two $100+ winners on the same card since July 13, 2016.
Though David Miller didn’t feature in any of the aforementioned races, he did win five times on the Thursday Philly card to earn top honours for the day.
(With files from PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia)