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Gray, Nickerson Double Their Pleasure

Published: July 9, 2019 2:47 pm ET

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Plainridge Park’s top driver and trainer combination of Shawn Gray and Jimmy Nickerson teamed up once again to score wins in the two featured races held at ‘The Ridge’ on Monday Afternoon (July 8).

In the $14,000 Winners-Over Handicap, Sir Pugsley tucked third from post seven off the gate while Opus Blue Chip (driven by Drew Campbell) took the field to the quarter. But Gray rolled Sir Pugsley to the top past that station and would remain the pace-setter from there. After hitting the half in :55 flat, Mach Doro A (Ron Cushing) came calling first up and pushed Sir Pugsley to the three-quarters in 1:22.4 and continued to be aggressive around the far turn and into the stretch. The pair continued to pace side by side all the way to the wire but Sir Pugsley held his advantage and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:51, which was a new seasonal mark.

It was the second win in a row, third of the year and 20th lifetime for the five-year-old Sir Pugsley ($12.00). He has now earned $42,095 this season for owner Burke Racing Stable and Marc Reynolds.

Then, in the $12,000 upper-level conditioned pace, the venerable campaigner Betterlatethnnever got away eighth by almost 13 lengths and stayed there well past the half while Quick Shot (Drew Campbell) and Fernleigh Rebel A (Mitchell Cushing) battled relentlessly to the half in :53.3 and the three-quarters in 1:21.4. It was there that Betterlatethnnever started his outside trek around tiring horses and eventually tipped four deep heading into the lane. It was in the stretch where Betterlatethnnever closed hard to overtake his foes and win by a half-length in 1:51.1, which tied his seasonal best.

Betterlatethnnever ($5.60) notched his seventh win of the year and pushed his earnings to $63,772 for owners Nickerson Racing and David Glazer.

The victories pushed Gray’s win total to 77 for the meet and Nickerson’s to 28, leaving them both ahead of their nearest categorical competitors by six wins.

With no unique winning ticket once again on Monday, the Wicked Hi-5 jackpot continues to grow. When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 11) and the field lines up for the sixth race, the carryover pool for the Wicked Hi-5 will be another track record high of $32,332. Post time for the first race will be at 4 p.m.

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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