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Sophomores Prep For MASS Stakes

Published: August 2, 2019 9:45 pm ET

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The Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) are still about two months away, but horses eligible to the $1.8 million (est.) series are already preparing to compete in that stakes in competition at many tracks.

At Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon a pair of three-year-olds, one on each gait, moved one step closer to being ready after adding solid wins in their respective races.

RFLs Lord Command (Royalty For Life-Tetiana) put in a gutsy performance in the $10,000 conditioned event for five-year-old and younger trotters and continues to build an impressive body of work as a sophomore.

RFLs Lord Command (Jim Hardy) sat third to the quarter and then pulled by the half to pressure the leading Pembroke Monet (Drew Campbell) for the next half-mile. After hitting the three-quarters in 1:27.1, RFLs Lord Command took control from Pembroke Monet but still wasn't in the clear. He then had to deal with Valentin (Wally Watson), who was trotting up a storm on the outside. Valentin got within a head of RFLs Lord Command at the top of the lane but the leader would not submit and RFLs Lord Command stayed tough to the wire, winning by a half-length in 1:57.

The win was the fifth in nine starts this year for RFLs Lord Command ($4), owned and bred by Al Ross. Jim Hardy trains the winner.

RFLs Lord Command is a three-quarter brother to Muscles Jared, who was a two-year-old MASS champion in 2016.

On the pacing side, Good Heavens (Rock N Roll Heaven-Ms Pininfarina) scored an equally impressive win in the $10,000 conditioned event for five-year-old and younger side-wheelers and kept his winning streak alive in the process.

Good Heavens (Drew Campbell) left for position from post eight and dropped in fifth by the quarter. But that pylon position was vacated after they hit the front straight as Campbell brought Good Heavens first-up to challenge Radical (Jim Hardy), who was cutting the mile. By the time they hit the half, these two tangled eye to eye and were pacing strong up the backside in a :27.1 split.

At the three-quarters, Good Heavens cleared and opened up a length advantage in the final bend. But as they were heading down the stretch, Radical found new life on the outside and was barreling down on the leader. The two hit the wire together, but Good Heavens hit it first by a neck in 1:54.2.

The victory was the third straight for Good Heavens ($4.80) and the winning time equalled the gelding's lifetime mark set just last week.

Nancy Longobardi owns Good Heavens, who is trained by Ivan Davies. The gelding was bred by Frederick Hertrich III.

Drew Campbell had a driving grand slam on Friday, pushing him to 72 wins for the meet at Plainridge.

Live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (August 5) with post time at 4 p.m., and there will be a $16,715 carryover in the sixth race Wicked Hi-5 Pentafecta jackpot wager.

(With files from Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)


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