Columbus, OH – On closing night of the 2019 Eldorado Scioto Downs meet, Atlanta withstood the late charge of two rivals to hold on for the victory in the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial while in the next race, McWicked came flying down the middle of the stretch for a narrow win in the $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial.
With Lather Up scratched in the Jim Ewart, 2-1 morning-line favorite McWicked (Brian Sears) broke fifth as Filibuster Hanover (Chris Page) led the nine-horse field through a :25.3 first quarter. This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) moved past Fillibuster Hanover and led through fractions of 52.4 and 1:20 and to the top of the stretch.
Fifth while turning for home, Sears guided McWicked to the center of the track passing four rivals to win by a nose in 1:49. Donttellmeagain and Western Fame dead heated for second and Western Fame and Courtly Choice was fourth another nose back.
“He was a little loose on his cover, but you know he just keeps digging to the wire,” said Sears following the win. “Casie’s (Coleman) done an amazing job bringing him back. I want to thank (owner) Ed James for letting us race him again another year. It’s been a lot of fun. This horse, he shows up every week and gives it his all.
“He feels like the same horse he did last year,” added Sears. “There’s really stiff competition that he has to face every week, but you know, he goes out there and tries his best. You’ve gotta love the horse.”
For the 8-year-old son of McArdle, it was McWicked’s fourth win in 2019, the 38th of his career and increased his lifetime earnings to $4,622,405. Owned by S G Stables and trained by Casie Coleman; he paid $6.20 to win.
In the previous race, the $220,000 Charlie Hill Memorial, Yannick Gingras and Atlanta held off the late charges of Plunge Blue Chip and Mission Accepted to win in a track record 1:51.4.
“I was hoping maybe for a lot of crazy speed early, so I could race off a helmet or chasing down horses any way,” said Gingras. “I think that’s her best game. But the way it worked out, I was able to make the front end and I knew Timmy (Tetrick on favorite Guardian Angel As) was parked the whole mile, so that was definitely a plus.”
After being parked third as Mission Accepted led the nine-horse field to the first quarter in :27.1, Gingras moved Atlanta to the lead the first time past the grandstand then led through fractions of :56 and 1:24. With the lead turning for home, Gingras allowed Atlanta to drift out a little off the turn leaving room for Plunge Blue Chip and Mission Accepted to challenge the winner on the inside.
Atlanta’s winning margin over Plunge Blue Chip was a head and third-place Mission Accepted was another head back. Favorite Guardian Angel As finished fourth. She paid $5.80 to win.
Atlanta, a 4-year-old Chapter Seven mare is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Bradley Grant and Howard Taylor. She has now won seven of 11 starts with three seconds this year and is 19-for-35 lifetime with $1,799,089 in career earnings.