Plainville, MA – Heavy rain and a very wet racing surface welcomed 18 top pacers who squared off in two events for a total of $45,000 at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (June 14) and both races provided thrilling stretch drives.
In the $25,000 Open pace, My Pal Joe made it two-for-two since arriving in Massachusetts.
The lightly regarded Major Leaguer (Nick Graffam) left the gate at 21-1 and led the single-file field through fractions of :26.2 and :55.1. At that second station Duplicated N (Bruce Ranger) pulled first into the breeze while Ocean Colony (Drew Campbell) and My Pal Joe (Shawn Gray) followed behind.
My Pal Joe had the most real estate to make up and he tipped three deep at the five-eighths pole and tried a brush-n-crush up the backside. However he remained three-deep into the last turn before finally catching Major Leaguer just before they straightened for home. My Pal Joe took control at the top of the stretch and then held a slight lead over the stubborn Major Leaguer to the line where he won by a length in 1:51.1.
It was the fifth win of the year for My Pal Joe ($3.00) and it pushed his 2021 earnings to $73,715 for owner United Process Control. Alek Chartrand trains the winner.
Then in the $20,000 Winners-Over pace, Bettors Fire N put in a very strong effort enroute to his second win of the season.
Bettors Fire N (Ron Cushing) took a quick early lead and hit the quarter in :27.1. At that point the pocket-sitting Star Commander N (Bruce Ranger) pulled, cleared in front of the stands and continued to the half in :56.3.
A weak outer flow led by Mach Up A (Jim Hardy) formed but couldn’t get closer than third, and by the three-quarter pole it clearly became a two-horse race. Cushing pulled Bettors Fire N halfway through the turn and drew alongside Star Commander N at the head of the lane. The two horses matched strides for the final sixteenth of a mile before Bettors Fire N swelled up, got the advantage and won by a half length in 1:52.3.
The venerable 13-year-old Bettors Fire N ($10.80) captured his 63rd lifetime win and inflated his career bankroll to $964,964 (US). The son of Bettor’s Delight is owned by Kevin Sywyk, his driver Ron Cushing and Frank Ranaldi. Heidi Gibbs is the trainer.
Team Graffam led all horsemen on Monday. Nick Graffam scored the driving hat trick while Mike Graffam sent two trainees to the winner’s enclosure.
Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Thursday (June 17) with post time at 4 p.m.