Plainville, MA — Recent Australian import Leonidas A has paid early dividends since arriving in this hemisphere in July, and he shone best once again after taking the $17,500 Winners-Over Pace at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 15).
After Paternity Suit A (Drew Monti) and Rock Diamonds N (Ron Cushing) traded leads off the gate, Leonidas A (Shawn Gray) motored towards the front at the three-eighths and grabbed it before a:56.4 half. Right at that point, Ideal Star N (Greg Merton) and Hudson Phil (Jay Randall) started an outside advance as the race moved to the three-quarters.
The two attackers made up some ground as they travelled up the backstretch and into the final bend. But as they spun off that apex, Leonidas A worked to keep a three-wide cavalry charge at bay and maintained a one-length advantage as they headed down the stretch. Pacing for the finish, Leonidas A was under a line-drive and extended his lead to 1-3/4 lengths when he stopped the clock in 1:52.2.
It was the second straight win at Plainridge Park for Leonidas A ($8.60), who is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and trained by Sheena McElhiney.
Gray also won the secondary featured $15,000 condition pace with Sea Isle City ($2.80), who took the lead from OK Kudo (Mitchell Cushing) past the quarter and then controlled the rest of the race. Pacing unchallenged down the lane, Sea Isle City hit the beam clear by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3.
Sea Isle City is owned by William and Barbara Ethier and trained by Jamie Gerard.
Shawn Gray ended up winning three races; Mitchell Cushing and Nick Graffam tallied two apiece. Trainer Irwin Rosenthal also won two races.
Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (Oct. 16) with post time at 2 p.m.
The Massachusetts Sire Stakes resume at Plainridge Park on Sunday (Oct. 18) and Monday (Oct. 19), when the third leg for all ages, gaits and sexes will be contested. The finals will be held at Plainridge on Oct. 26. Post time for all stakes race days is 2 p.m.