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Ralph R Confident In Keystone Classic

Published: September 24, 2014 8:24 pm ET

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Ralph R moved confidently first over as the 1-5 favourite and rolled to an easy victory in Wednesday’s $117,200 Keystone Classic at The Meadows.

Wimborne Hanover took advantage of breaks by four of his six rivals to capture the other division in the stake for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters.

Although he had just one victory on his card, Ralph R appeared to be the best following a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. The son of Muscle Massive-Aiken For Clay proved it was more than a paper advantage when he brushed from third for Mike Wilder and scored in a career-best 1:56, four and a half lengths better than Red Maple Lane. Sixteen Encores was third.

“He scored down fantastic,” Wilder said. “Not knowing the horse, I just got him away safe. But there was really nothing to know. I never moved — plugs in, and I never laid the whip on him. He was push button.”

Robin Cruise trains Ralph R, who has banked $133,374 this year, for Ervin Miller Stable Inc. and Paymaq Racing.

Wimborne Hanover boasted nine wins entering the stake; most, however, were at PA Fairs, and, at 8-1, he figured to have his work cut out for him. But he watched Dont Mind Me break at the start. He saw Hurrikane Jonny K, the 3-5 favourite, jump it off while moving first over. He noticed the pocket-sitting Cue Hall run around the final turn. Finally, when the leader, Longcat Hanover, broke stride in the stretch, Wimborne Hanover had seen enough.

He dug in for Eric Ledford and triumphed in 1:57.3. Longcat Hanover survived an inquiry and held second, four lengths back, while Massive Storm earned show.

With all the 'dancing' during the race, Bill Daugherty Jr., who trains the Muscle Massive-Wherley gelding for Susan Daugherty, feared his youngster — who broke stride in his last start — would join the conga line.

“I thought about that a little bit because, being two-year-olds, they’ll do that,” he said. “I was hoping to get a decent cheque today, not really [expecting to] win it, but we’ll take it. He ran down a little bit behind in his last start, so I put a longer shoe on the back, and that seemed to make a difference.”

Wimborne Hanover will wrap up his fine freshman campaign in the Pa Fairs Championships on Oct. 4 at The Meadows.

In the $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Daylon Miracle had little trouble capturing her 13th victory this year with a 1:53.1 tally for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury. The pocket-sitting Kandian Club was second, three and a half lengths in arrears, while ER Ellie completed the ticket. A five-year-old daughter of Pegasus Spur-Daylon Marvel, Daylon Miracle extended her career bankroll to $412,449.

Tony Hall, Wilbur Yoder and Wilder each piloted three winners on the 16-race card.

Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the card features a $91,998 Keystone Classic for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 p.m.

(With files from The Meadows)

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