Columbus, MN — The Thursday night (June 24) card at Running Aces featured the weekly $12,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace with a very nice field of eight distaffers lining up behind the gate.
Anna B (Brady Jenson) was fastest away and swept to the lead from post eight, with Oneida Blue Chip (Mooney Svendsen) following from post seven to secure the pocket while Nick Roland floated away in third with Always Be Lucy as they registered a :27.4 opening stanza.
Rockin With Lou (Gerald Longo) was first to tip to the outside but made little impression on the leaders and the top three were well clear of the rest throughout the middle fractions (:56.1 and 1:24.1).
As they turned for home Oneida Blue Chip pulled the pocket to challenge Anna B but could not get by, as Always Be Lucy angled into the passing lane and had plenty of late pace, surging past Anna B in the shadow of the wire for a half-length score in 1:52.4 to register back-to-back feature wins at Aces and three wins in a row overall.
Always Be Lucy ($5.60) is also trained by Roland and is owned by Set The Pace Racing. It was the fifth win of the season and 23rd career tally for the 6-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin.
Alilthundadownunda (Roland, $3.00) surged late to score his third win in a row in the $15,000 Minnesota-sired sophomore “A” pace in 1:55.1, getting home a half-length ahead of longshot Maze (Rick Magee) with SD Watch Me Now (Brian Detgen) picking up third money.
Alilthundadownunda has now won five out of his last six starts for owners Set The Pace Racing and trainer Roland. The ultra-sharp son of Malak Uswaad N has been able to overcome post nine and post eight in his last two races and maintain his status as the division leader so far this season.
Brooklyn Wind Up posted a career best 1:57.4 mile in the $10,000 sophomore “B” pace with an impressive rally from off the pace.
Driver Jenson got away sixth from post eight with Brooklyn Wind Up before picking up second-over cover near the half-mile, and they were in perfect striking position around the far turn. As they headed for home, Muffin Top (Detgen) had the lead and Marced In Faith (Tony Kerwood) was second, but Brooklyn Wind Up ($10.20) was loaded with pace and Jenson guided the filly to the far outside and was able to rally past Muffin Top to just get up by a head on the wire in 1:57.4 while Marced in Faith held third.
Jenson is also the winning trainer, and he co-owns the winner with Christopher Manatt.
Roland led the Thursday program with three driving wins and three training wins, while Jenson also posted a training double on the card.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (June 27) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) and will feature a carryover of $24,143.66 in the Pick-5 Jackpot wager.