from the PHHA /Harrah’s Philadelphia
Chester, PA — A special Monday afternoon (Oct. 8) card at Harrah’s Philadelphia featured $200,000 worth of stakes action in John Simpson Sr. events for 3-year-old colts, with horses of both gaits contesting three divisions.
First to the track were the pacers, with the Somebeachsomewhere gelding No Easy Day finding the race living up to his name but still prevailing in 1:51.1. Driver David Miller quarter-moved with the winner past early leader Lyons Steel going to the :26.3 opener, then got a rest on the lead to a :56 half. Soon afterwards Shadow Cat began a long grinding challenge that lasted past the 1:22.4 three-quarters and all the way to the wire, with Lyons Steel coming up the inside to threaten, but No Easy Day held his ground gamely, a half-length to the good of Lyons Steel and three-quarters of a length ahead of the resilient Shadow Cat, in winning for trainer Ron Burke and owner Thomas Dillon.
Driver Miller and trainer Burke reteamed successfully in the second Simpson stakes section with another altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, Wheels On Fire, who won for the ninth time in 15 seasonal starts for owner W.J. Donovan. Miller put Wheels On Fire behind Canadian invader Talbotcreekwhiskey, who strung the field out with early numbers of :26.4 and :54.1 then battled with first-up Wild Bill to a 1:22 three-quarters. Through the stretch the main battle came down to Wheels On Fire and Macadoodledoo, a fellow 8-5 choice who went wide from second-over, with the winner getting a neck decision in 1:50.4.
Somebeachsomewhere completed a siring sweep of the Simpson pacing action when the gelding Terror Atthe Beach got a nifty steer by driver George Napolitano Jr. to win the third cut in 1:51. Sitting third-inside while Winston set fractions of :26.4 and :55 and then was joined by first-over favorite Rockapelo down the back, Terror Atthe Beach was able to slip out third-over behind JK Wildfire as the pocket horse collapsed to the 1:23.1 three-quarters. The eventual winner then kept digging in through the lane, just nailing Rockapelo on the line by a nose, with JK Wildfire in third and Winston in fourth within a length on the money. Trainer Chris Oakes conditions the winner of $110,335 for Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor, and Edwin Gold.
On the trot, Mississippi Storm was the first feature horse to the Harrah’s winner’s circle, taking a new mark of 1:53.2 while winning in stakes company for the third straight time. The Cantab Hall gelding was limbed most of the :27.2 quarter to gain control for driver Andrew McCarthy, strolled to a :57.1 half, shook off outside pressure past the 1:24.2 third quarter, then stayed in command against late inside closers to win by 1-1/2 lengths over Lindy’s Big Bang, who nipped Scirocco Rob for the deuce. Tom Fanning conditions the winner of $171,946 for owner Joseph Smith.
Driver Eric Carlson continued his amazing streak of bringing in longshot winners, especially trotters, when he roared through the stretch with Chucky De Vie as the Charlie De Vie colt took a new mark of 1:55. Carlson worked out a second-over trip from last, tipped wide at headstretch, and came his last quarter in :28 to win a four-across-the-track finish by a half-length for trainer Hermann Heitmann and the ownership of Joie De Vie Farm and Paul Nigito.
Carlson has now had five of the last 11 $50-plus winners at Philly (all but one trotters) and three of the last four, and he began his current defy-the-toteboard run by guiding trotters Bold Goddess ($116.20) and Rentier ($81.00) home in successive races on Sept. 5.
The third division went to New York Sire Stakes champion Helpisontheway, who engaged in a long and bitter struggle with pacesetting Rich And Miserable before emerging a neck the better in 1:53.1. Tim Tetrick moved the victorious son of Chapter Seven uncovered from mid-pack at the three-eighths and reached the leader after he had notched early fractions of :27.1 and :57.1. The battle was on through a pair of :28 quarters the rest of the way, with Helpisontheway going by late to run his 2018 record to 14-8-4-0 ($485,808) and his lifetime bankroll to $522,194 for trainer Linda Toscano and the ownership of Camelot Stable Inc., The Bay’s Stable and Little E.