Chester Hosts Ben Franklin Elims

Published: July 19, 2009 04:23 pm EDT

Many of harness racing’s heavyweights in the older pacing horse division lined up on the gate at Harrah’s Chester Racetrack on Sunday afternoon to do battle in a set of $50,000 Ben Franklin eliminations


The opening split saw Art Official turn in a gate-to-wire score for driver Ron Pierce, who had no problem disposing of five foes in a time of 1:49.2. The Joe Seekman trainee lined them up in a hurry and successfully rolled through panels of :26.4, :56 and 1:22.4 before doling out a final quarter clocked in :26.3.

Won The West sat a pocket trip throughout the mile and finished second, with Winbak Speed third and Western Shore taking home a fourth-place cheque.

Sawgrass Farms LLC of Lockport, Illinois owns the four-year-old son of Art Major-Naughty Shady Lady who has put together a 2-1-1 record in his first five starts of the 2009 campaign. The $25,000 payday bumped his lifetime earnings to $1,728,458.

The second elimination was a real barnburner from start to finish. Dali sliced out big panels of :26, :54.2 and 1:21.4 before being swarmed by a number of high profile foes from the backfield. Four horses were within three-quarters-of-a-length of one another at the finish line, with Mister Big taking the checkered flag by a nose for driver Brian Sears.

Mister Big enjoyed a second-over trip, and needed every bit of that trip to fend off Bettor Sweet. Foiled Again was just a head back in third, with Noble Falcon finishing fourth in the seven-horse affair.

Virgil Morgan, Jr. conditions the six-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear-Worlds Sweetheart for owner Joe Muscara of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. The victory was the pacer’s second score of the season in just five trips postward, and it was the 31st of his career. He has banked $3,574,290 to date.

The $500,000 final of the Ben Franklin Stake goes next Sunday afternoon at Harrah’s Chester Racetrack.

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