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Open To Hickory Icon; Merton Nabs Five

Published: July 6, 2017 8:52 pm ET

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After two solid starts at the Meadows and Scioto Downs, Hickory Icon shipped to Plainridge Park and came up just short to St Lads Moonwalk in the Open here last week. However this week he left nothing on the table as he swooped battling front-runners to capture the $18,000 Open Handicap pace at The Ridge on Thursday afternoon.

Hickory Icon (Shawn Gray) left from post eight and got the lead before the quarter in :26.2. Right after they hit that station, the heavy 1-5 favourite Artful Way (Greg Merton) pulled from second and overtook the leader. The top positions remained unchanged for the next quarter mile until Waves Of Fire A (Matthew Adamczyk) pulled first-up and drew even with the leader.

Artful Way and Waves Of Fire A paced stride for stride to the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3 with Hickory Icon drafting in third at the pylons, just waiting to make his move. That move came half-way around the last turn as Gray tipped him two and then three deep around the top two horses. Waves Of Fire A dropped out of the competition but Artful Way had fight left to give. He would not relent as they headed down the stretch, but Hickory Icon imposed his will and eventually drew off by two to win in 1:51.1

It was the eighth win in 22 starts this year for Hickory Icon ($14.60) and it inflated his 2017 earnings to $84,160 for owner Jessica Smith. Randal Smith trains the winner.

In the co-featured $14,000 conditioned pacing event, My Mind Is Madeup (Greg Merton) was parked three-deep around the first turn before taking the lead and touring the facility on the front end en route to an easy one-length victory in 1:51.1, which tied his lifetime best effort.

The four-year-old Mister Big progeny is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and is trained by Monique Cohen. Sent off the post time favourite, My Mind is Madeup returned $4.40 for the win.

Greg Merton turned in another stellar performance winning five races once again on Thursday. He returned to the winner’s enclosure with Think Bigger ($3.60, 1:52.4), Jus Like A Virgin ($6.40, 1:53.2), Weekend Fling ($2.80, 1:55), My Mind Is Madeup ($4.40, 1:51.1) and Superbowl Party ($5.20, 1:52.4)

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday, July 7 with post time set for 4 p.m.

(Standardbred Owners of New England)

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