Day At The Track

McWicked, Atlanta are best at Scioto Downs

03:47 PM 08 Sep 2019 NZST
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McWicked, harness racing Atlanta, harness racing
McWicked (#2) sticks his nose in front at the wire
Atlanta (#7) barely holds off Plunge Blue Chip

Both McWicked and Atlanta showed different harness racing tactics that worked Saturday night at Scioto Downs as McWicked won the $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Pace and Atlanta won the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot. And both races took the photo finish camera to declare the winner.

The feature event was the Ewart Memorial and it was Filibuster Hanover (Chris Page) trading the early lead with This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) to the opening quarter mile in :25.3 with This Is The Plan on the lead.

Western Fame and driver Dan Noble attacking first-over with Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron) grabbing the second-over spot past the half mile in :52.4.

They raced four-in, five-out down the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:20 as horses began to fan out for the stretch drive to the finish.

In the stretch, Western Fame starts to surge to the lead as a wall of horses came at him and it was driver Brian Sears and McWicked weaving their way through the field and getting up at the wire by a long nose in 1:49. Dontellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) and Western Fame finished in a dead-heat for second with Courtly Choice (James MacDonald) a neck back in fourth place.

It was the first time that any horse has won the Jim Ewart Memorial twice. It was McWicked’s fourth win this year for the eight-year-old stallion by McArdle and 38th career win for trainer Casie Coleman and owner SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. He paid $6.20 to win.

“I was still asking him for pace just keeping up,” winning driver Brian Sears said after the race. “He’s an amazing horse."

Atlanta, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky, returned to her winning ways with a close call in the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot.

After taking the lead away from Mission Accepted (Chris Page) by the opening quarter mile in :27.1, Atlanta settled in on the lead as Guardian Angel AS (Tim Tetrick) started up first-over by the half in a mild :56. Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) had grabbed the second-over trip.

Down the backstretch, Atlanta held firmly to the lead as the pace picked up and Guardian Angel AS could not gain ground on the race leader past the three-quarters in 1:24.

Then as they came down the stretch, Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svandsted) found room and came charging up the passing lane but Atlanta was a step ahead, winning by a long nose in 1:51.4. The lone two mares in the race finishing one-two. Mission Accepted was third.

It was a track record mile for four-year-old trotting mares and made Atlanta only the second mare ever to win the Charlies Hill. The daughter of Chapter Seven posted her seventh win on the year in eleven starts for trainer Ron Burke. She is owned by Crawford Farms, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor and paid $5.80 to win. Atlanta was a $10,000 supplement to the Charlie Hill Memorial.

"Honestly I was kind of measuring a little bit late," Gingras said after the race. "Ake [Svanstedt and Plunge Blue Chip] was coming kind of fast.

By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

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