Columbus, MN — There were a trio of featured events on the Thursday night (June 3) card at Running Aces, including two divisions of the Minnesota-sired sophomore pace.
The $15,000 “A” division featured a re-match showdown of last week’s top two finishers in the colts and geldings contest. SD Watch Me Now (Brian Detgen) took the top prize in the last outing and was a slight wagering favorite to repeat in this week’s contest, sent off as the 4-5 choice.
SD Watch Me Now was fastest from the gate and easily found the lead from post four, while Alilthundadownunda (Nick Roland) left alertly from post two to secure the pocket position. The leader was able to steal a very moderate opening half (:59) with no challengers and no pressure.
The tempo quickened in the third panel (:27.3) and the top two began to separate from the rest of the pack, and as they turned for home it was clearly a two-horse race to the wire. Roland steered Alilthundadownunda ($4.40) into the passing lane and had just enough steam to surge past the leader in the final strides to score a half-length victory in a career best time of 1:54.3. SD Watch Me Now was ultra-game in the narrow defeat and the pair were seven lengths ahead of longshot Brooklyn Wind Up (Brady Jenson) who checked in third.
The winner is a gelded son of Malak Uswaad N, out of the mare Wild About Eagle (The Panderosa). He now shows three wins in eight starts this year for owners Set the Pace Racing. Roland is also the trainer.
The $10,000 “B” split went to Maze, a filly who is also sired by Malak Uswaad N. She rallied from third at the top of the lane to draw away and win by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2 with Adam Hauser at the controls. Twisted Bliss (Brandon Jenson) was second best, and pacesetter Starstruck Cowgirl (Rick Magee) was home third.
The winning mile was a new career mark for Maze ($4.60) who now has four career wins for owner/breeder Bernard Nanke. The winning trainer is Alexia Kehl.
The $11,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was an action-packed and thrilling contest from start to finish. Scratched down to a field of five, Hottieonthehorizon (Nick Roland) was fastest early from the outside spot, but had to yield to an early attack by Something To Me (Brian Detgen) who surged from the pocket at the quarter in :27 and led until just past the half in :57.
It’s Pacific Time (Rick Magee) was next to launch a strong bid and brushed up to apply heavy pressure and then take control around the far turn, where they completed three-quarters in 1:25.1. The entire field was in contention as they rounded for home and the closers had the most pace to the wire.
Anna B (Brady Jenson) rallied from fourth to take the lead mid-stretch, but Oneida Blue Chip (Mooney Svendsen) was closing fast from last and nailed the victory right on the wire, getting home a head in front of Anna B in a 1:53.2 mile.
Oneida Blue Chip has now won four of 14 starts this season and 22 lifetime, with a career bankroll of $219,453. The winner is owned by Barbara Arnstine and trained by Kathie Plested.
Rojo Caliente (Tony Kerwood, $2.80) turned in another sharp gate-to-wire win in a $6,200 conditioned pace to become the first horse to advance to three-for-three on the Aces meet. The impressive 4-year-old mare is owned by Susan Holm-Johansen and also owned and trained by Ulf Holm-Johansen.
Driver Jacob Cutting led the Thursday program with his second consecutive hat trick performance, including a winning steer on $49.60 winner Outlawintriguedbyu for trainer Ariel Alvarez for the highest win mutuel of the meet so far.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (June 6) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) and will feature a carryover in the 20-cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager of $9,349.55 as well as a guarantee in the 50-cent Late Pick-4 of $5,000.