A pair of Hall Of Famers – driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke – combined to spring a 10-1 upset with Yanks Dugout in the $16,200 trotting feature on Thursday afternoon at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
Miller left well with the Triumphant Caviar gelding but found contention all around him, finally making the top just past a :27 opener then yielding to favoured Sorella, who went to the half of :55.3 and had the front part of the field strung out nearing the 1:23.3 three-quarters. But Miller asked his trotter for more and Yanks Dugout wheeled outside late on the turn, made his way to the lead in upper stretch then battled home to hold off the inside thrust of Focus Pocus by a neck in 1:53.1. This was the first victory for Yanks Dugout since his win in the Open Trot on Super Stakes Sunday at Pocono on May 29 and this victory helped raise his lifetime bankroll to $322,348 for owners Ivan and John Duke Sugg.
In the $15,300 co-featured trot for developing horses, X O X O seems to love racing right now, departing her native Quebec with two wins in a row, adding two more at Yonkers, and now notching a second straight victory at Philly, here in 1:55 despite having to tuck early and then go first-over. But driver George Napolitano Jr. found the daughter of Angus Hall more than ready to overcome such a rough journey, winning by 1-3/4 lengths over Yucatan Party Man, who photoed Colonial AS IT for second. Deborah Daguet currently trains the winner of six straight, a good stakes performer at two and three in la belle province, for D Racing Stable Inc.
Feature winners Miller and Napolitano each had three successes on the day, with each scoring with two favourites early – the chalk started out five-for-six, then was blanked the rest of the card.
The Harrah’s Philly Racing Office, perhaps with an eye to other stakes and events this weekend, switched the fast-class pacers to the Friday card this week. The feature on the 12:25 p.m. card is the $22,500 handicap pace in the 10th slot, with last year’s U.S. Older Pacer of the Year Allywag Hanover beginning from the outside in the field of six while searching for his second straight at Philly. There is also a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Pick-4 bet starting with the first race; that pool will contain a $2,288.90 carryover from the last, unsolved Pick-4 on Thursday. Program pages are available on the PHHA website.
(With files from PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia)