Columbus, MN — The featured event on the Tuesday evening (July 20) program at Running Aces was the $12,000 Open Handicap Pace, which drew a full field of nine talented contenders.
The slight favorite at post time was Major Pocket A (Nick Roland) while Castle Flight (Luke Plano) was a close second choice in the wagering.
Elusive Image (Mooney Svendsen) was fastest from the gate from post four to take command of the field, with Castle Flight getting away sharply from post seven to secure the pocket position and Stuckey Dote (Jacob Cutting) pacing away in third from the inside post.
The field remained in straight alignment through the solid early fractions of :27.2 and :55.3 before Major Pocket A started the outer flow from sixth, with Parklane Jet and Whatchyastarinat joining the charge. The outer tier failed to make much of an impression on the top three horses and as they rounded for home it was a clear battle between that trio, with Castle Flight emerging from the pocket and Stuckey Dote charging three-wide.
Elusive Image dug down deep but was ultimately unable to stave off the surge from Castle Flight ($7.60) who got a head up at the wire in 1:53 while Stuckey Dote was just three-quarters of a length back in third.
The winner is a 9-year-old gelded son of Panspacificflight who now shows 35 career wins and earnings of $361,696. He is owned by Bill Dessert and trained by Nick Roland.
The 6-year-old Minnesota-sired pacer Ridonkuloso (Luke Plano, $8.60) scored a lifetime best 1:53.3 win in a $5,200 conditioned event, for his 17th career score. The son of Voracious Hanover has won five races this season for owners Dave Haness and Nikki Hudson, Plano is also the winning conditioner.
The Quentin Schneider stable came extremely close to a double-win score in the second race on the night, a $4,800 conditioned pace, when his two trainees (Major Mac and Ivar) dominated the race and battled tooth and nail to the finish wire. After the dust cleared the stewards were able to separate the pair by the slightest of margins, with Ivar ($21.20) getting the victory by a nose.
The mile in 1:54.3 was a career best effort and fifth career tally for Ivar, a 4-year-old gelding by JK Royal Flush, who is owned by Mel Mullet. The winner was piloted by James Jungquist while Luke Plano steered Major Mac. The Schneider-trained exacta paid a healthy $127.80 as well.
Plano led the program for the second straight night, posting a driving hat trick, while leading driver Nick Roland registered a double. Quentin Schneider posted a training double as well.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Thursday (July 22) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) and will feature a carryover of $6,133.14 in the 20-cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager.