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Hes Marvalous Holds On

Published: August 28, 2017 8:54 pm ET

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After leaving and being pressured much of the mile, Hes Marvalous hung on until the very end and won the $14,000 conditioned pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon.

Hes Marvalous (Nick Graffam) rolled down the highway in :26.4 with everyone seating behind him. But after a fairly soft second panel, Prince Aston (Scott Renz) advanced outside at the three-eighths and started to chase the leader. At first Prince Aston seemed to be prompting more than challenging as he hung about a half-length off. But as they passed the three-quarters he drew even with Hes Marvalous and the battle was on.

Around the final turn Hes Marvalous and Prince Aston were literally stride for stride with both drivers bouncing in rhythm with their horses. As they came down the lane it was so tight, it was anyone’s guess who would get the advantage. With the leaders in an all-out war, the rest of the field was closing in and now the finish was really in doubt as Terror Hall (Wally Watson) and Warrawee Nonsuch (Mark Beckwith) were closing in. When they hit the finish, Hes Marvalous got the win by a nose over Prince Aston with Terror Hall third only a head behind in 1:52.1. In the photo, six horses were across the wire within a length of each other.

It was the second win of the year for Hes Marvalous ($19.80) who recorded a lifetime mark of 1:50.4 here at Plainridge in June. The four-year-old gelded son of Delmarvalous is owned by P. Richard Shaw and Mike Graffam, who also trains the winner.

The undercard was a $12,000 conditioned pace and it had more lead changes than a ballroom dance. Major Leaguer (Jimmy Whittemore) took the front early but yielded it to Trigger Finger (Chris Long) by the quarter. The race rolled to the half in :56.2 when Lindy Beach (Greg Merton) pulled and brushed ahead of Major Leaguer by the three-eighths and directed the proceedings form there.

A mild bid from a weak outer flow failed to make an impact on the leaders up the backside and Lindy Beach took the field confidently around the far turn and into the stretch. Before they straightened out Major Leaguer pulled, paced up to Lindy Beach and then went right on by. Major Leaguer shifted gears and opened up a three-length advantage and with Whittemore striking a pose for the photographer, won in 1:51.3.

Major Leaguer ($6.40) registered his 12th win in 15 starts this year for Jimmy Whittemore who also owns the horse. Dennis Whittemore does the training.

Plainridge Park’s leading driver Greg Merton had another big day at the track, winning five races and finishing second three times in his nine starts on the card. That gave him an astounding .740 UDR for the afternoon.

Merton won with Crazyblond (1:56.2, $8.20), Destination Moon N (1:52.1, $4.60), Vegas Dream (1:52.1, $3.60), Flirtnwithdisaster (1:54.3, $3.60) and Jus Like A Virgin (1:52.2, $4.60).

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Tuesday with post time set for 4 p.m.

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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