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Good Day For Favourites In Philly

Published: July 23, 2021 7:46 pm ET

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All victories are memorable, but one of the three triumphs in the $12,600 features at Harrah’s Philadelphia Friday afternoon may stand out a little bit more for one driver.

Michel Heijnen, a horseman from The Netherlands who usually drives only his own small stable of trotters (his previous catch-drive was four years ago), picked up the mount behind a three-year-old filly from trainer Luc Blais and owner Determination – Viva La Deo, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of the $2.2M-winning Rocklamation, a $200,000 yearling. And this was his first-ever drive (in North America, anyway) behind a pacer!

But ignoring all that and any pressure from 3-5 favouritism, Heijnen placed Viva La Deo right behind Ideal In Miracles through fractions of :27.2, :57.4, and 1:25.2, then wheeled her out in the stretch and got the decision by the smallest possible margin in 1:54.2 for the memorable triumph.

All of the fancied competitors were prominent early in the top pace for males, with favoured Toronto circling Whole Lotta Lou after Tapped Teen made a broke challenging for the lead nearing the :27.4 quarter. The Sweet Lou gelding Whole Lotta Lou was content to sit behind Toronto’s fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.3, moved out to challenge him in the stretch, and swept by the leader to win by a length in 1:52.1, equalling his previous best set at The Meadowlands.

Todd McCarthy drove the promising sophomore for trainer Stacy Chiodo and Timothy Tobias Stable LLC.

In the trot headliner, the Muscle Hill gelding Southwind Sylvestr let Boom City get the top after a :28.2 opener and post middle splits of :58 and 1:26.4 while repelling the favoured first-over I Am The Storm to and past the latter station. Southwind Sylvestr then went up the inside to catch the leader by a length in a career mark of 1:57, completing a feature sweep of pocket rockets.

Allan Davis guided the winner perfectly for trainer Joseph Hundertpfund, Jr. and owners William Sartin and Richard Ashley.

Recent double sub-1:50 winner Aflame Hanover squares off with the very consistent Vettel N and six other solid pacers in the $16,200 feature on the Sunday matinee card at Harrah’s Philadelphia. There will also be an $8,945.63 carryover into the third race Super Hi-5.

(PHHA / Harrah’s Philadelphia)

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