Columbus, MN — The Tuesday evening (July 9) program at Running Aces featured the weekly Mares Open Handicap Pace, with this week’s edition drawing a field of seven going for $14,000. The talk of the toteboard at 1-9 was Juslikeaqueen, who was assigned post seven and was looking to extend a two-race win streak at the top Mares Open level.
Driver Lemoyne “Mooney” Svendsen sent the favorite right to the front, but had to deal with a strong early challenge for the lead from Delightfully Wild (Nick Roland) through a very fast :26.3 opening stanza. Delightfully Wild was forced to settle for the pocket and Cay’s Blessing (Darrell Wright) showing plenty of early speed as well by getting away third.
Once settled on the lead, Juslikeaqueen was well in control of affairs, and posted solid middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:22.3, with no pressure whatsoever. As they straightened for home, Delightfully Wild mounted a challenge from the pocket but was no match for the leader, who held firm to the wire for a three-quarter length score in 1:51.1, just one tick off of the track record for older pacing mares (Show Runner, 1:51). Making the effort even more impressive was the track rating of good (the rating started at sloppy, and was upgraded after five races). PV Miracle Mary (Rick Magee) rallied from the back of the pack to get third money.
The winner is a 5-year-old daughter of Palone Ranger, out of the Kingston mare Queen Caroline. She is owned by Antonia Storer and is trained by Tim Maier. The victory on Tuesday was win number eight on the season and pushed her yearly earnings to $64,010, while her career bankroll is now at $281,080.
Juslikeaqueen ($2.20) is the lone mare in a field of 19 nominees for the 2019 Dan Patch FFA Pace at Running Aces, which gets underway with elimination races this coming Sunday (July 14).
Two-year-old Minnesota-sired races were also a highlight of the Tuesday action, with Go Margeaux ($6.60, Rick Magee) picking up her first career win in 2:03.2 over the sloppy surface in the “B” Trot, and Miss Gracious ($4.60, Darrell Wright) remaining a perfect three-for-three lifetime in the “A” Trot in 2:03.1.
On the pacing side, Ain’t That A Shame ($5.00, Don Harmon) won her first career race with a gate-to-wire win in 2:00.2 in the “B” division, while Bunkerhill Phil ($22.60, Don Harmon) topped the “A” split with a sharp mile in 1:57.4 for his first career pari-mutuel win.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday night (July 13) with two sizeable carryovers: $4,714.19 in the 20-cent Pick-5 jackpot, and $4,777.45 in the 50-cent Hi-5 wager. First post on Saturday is at 7 p.m. (CDT).