Day At The Track

Starznheaven shines in Open Handicap

12:30 PM 23 Apr 2019 NZST
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Starznheaven,Harness racing
Starznheaven
Tom Melanson photo

Plainville, MA --- Heavy downpours, steady wind, a sloppy track and seven formidable foes could not prevent Starznheaven from capturing the $16,000 Open Handicap pace at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (April 22).

Avatartist (Mark Eaton) was the fastest off the wings and skimmed through the water to the quarter in :26.2. But despite the torrid pace for any condition, Shawn Gray was not content to sit and pulled Starznheaven, took the lead and then dared everyone to catch him.

Starznheaven got to the half in :54.2 and the three quarters in 1:23. There Tisadream N (Mitchell Cushing) pulled from third and paced even with Avatartist but the pair were still two-lengths behind the leader heading into the stretch. Starznheaven was motoring strong under a hand-drive from Gray while his pursuers tried to catch him, but that was not the case this day as Starznheaven held off their bid to win by two lengths in 1:51.4.

The time was a new seasonal mark for the winner.

It was the third win of the year and 40th of the career for Starznheaven ($3.60) who is owned by Marc Reynolds, Scott Dillon and Bradford Veilleux and trained by Jimmy Nickerson.

In the $15,000 Winners-Over pacing co-feature, Gibbs (Mitchell Cushing) got away a distant seventh at the quarter before pulling third-over in a lively outer flow and then tipped three-wide coming off the far turn to circle the field and pull away to a two-length win in 1:53.1.

It was the second straight win at Plainridge Park for Gibbs ($17.20) who is owned by Rick Howles. Eric Beach does the conditioning.

Mitchell Cushing and Shawn Gray both had driving triples on the card while trainer Jimmy Nickerson did the same on the training side.

The oppressive racing conditions provided some premium payouts on Monday including Rockin Cougar (Nick Graffam) who paid $58.40 in the ninth and All Artist (Drew Campbell) that returned $61.20 in the tenth.

Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (April 25) with post time at 4 p.m.

For more information of harness racing in Massachusetts log on to the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts at www.sominc.net and Plainridge Park at www.plainridgeparkcasino.com.

 

By Tim Bojarski,

for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

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