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The trip was tough, but the end result was sweet for First Rate Shark in Monday’s $15,500 Preferred for pacers at The Raceway at the Western Fair District.

Driver David Dowling dropped into the four-hole with First Rate Shark in the early going while Button Up and Part Shark exchanged punches to the quarter pole in :27.2 before the latter cleared to the top. Part Shark felt first-over pressure from First Rate Shark through middle panels of :57 and 1:25 before First Rate Shark put away his front-stepping foe. A final quarter clocked in :30.3 was more than enough for First Rate Shark to hold off runner-up Button Up by a length in 1:55.4 Just Crowned rounded out the top three finishers.

Trainer David O’Brien of Dorchester, ON shares ownership on the seven-year-old son of Cams Card Shark-Ashlee Lyn with Anne O’Keefe of Ferryland, NL. The partners watched the 15-time winner improve his 2012 record to 3-0-3 in 12 starts while lifting his lifetime earnings to $247,353.