A pair of $15,000 conditioned events for six-year-old and under pacers topped the bill at Plainridge Park on Thursday and both victors were no strangers to the winner’s circle.
In the male division, General Ward (Jim Hardy) took a quick lead off the gate and would not relinquish it the rest of the way. With Touch Of Character (Steve Wilson) parked outside, General Ward got to the quarter in a brisk :26.2 and the half in :54.1. Moving past the five-eighths General Ward turned back that challenge, but at the three-quarter pole horses were fanning three and four wide going into the last turn. By the top of the stretch General Ward continued to lead but Level Up (Shawn Gray) was making up ground fast. But as they paced to the wire General Ward refused to lose and hung on by a neck to win in 1:51.3.
It was the fifth win in the last eight starts for General Ward ($4.80) who is owned by Bob Bogigian and trained by Jolene Andrews. The four-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Podges Lady has now earned $47,375 in purses this year.
The fillies and mares split saw Chasethecloudsaway (Kevin Switzer Jr.) take the group to the quarter in :27 before Lindy At The Beach (Bruce Ranger) pulled the pocket and cleared the front as they went by the stands. From there positions remained unchanged around the second turn and up the backstretch. Coming out of the last bend, Chasethecloudsaway finally came off the pylons and when she did, Shes A Fireball (Ron Cushing) followed and went three-deep. At the top of the stretch, Lindy At The Beach faded and She’s A Fireball was gobbling up ground in pursuit of Chasethecloudsaway. In deep stretch the pair paced in lock-step to the wire where a photo separated them by a nose with Chasethecloudsaway getting the advantage in 1:52.4.
For Chasethecloudsaway ($6.20) it was the fourth win in the last six starts and seventh overall win of the year. Now boasting earnings of $46,369 in 2021, the four-year-old daughter of Sunshine Beach-Janns Bid is owned by David Del Pozzo and is trained by Chris Petrelli.
Shawn Gray had a driving triple on Thursday to lead all drivers. Two of those winners were trained by Sheena McElhiney who was the winningest conditioner for the session.
Due to the heavy rain and severe weather expected to arrive tomorrow as a result of Tropical Storm Elsa’s trek up the eastern seaboard, Plainridge Park, with approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, has postponed the card of racing originally scheduled for Friday (July 9) and moved it to Saturday (July 10) to insure the safety of all racing participants. The card will go as originally drawn and post time will remain at 4 p.m.
When racing resumes on Saturday, there will be a $25,769 carryover in the Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta wager in the sixth race.
(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)