Plainville, MA – After winning back-to-back Free-for-all trots at Scarborough Downs in recent weeks, Namesmuscle ran his streak to three after scoring a gate to wire victory in the $12,000 Winners-Over feature at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 17).
Leaving from post four and opening up a quick three-length advantage at the quarter, Namesmuscle (Matty Athearn) trotted along unchallenged until the half where Jericho (Shawn Gray) attacked from third and matched strides with the leader up the backstretch, to the three-quarters and all the way around the last turn.
When the race hit the top of the lane, Jericho took the lead by a neck and looked as if he would maintain it. But Namesmuscle responded to heavy urging from Athearn and came back on to regain the front in mid-stretch and held off Jericho, and a very fast closing Tobasco (Drew Campbell) to trip the beam first in 1:56.1. The time was a new seasonal mark.
Namesmuscle ($5.20) is owned by William Phipps and is trained by Gretchen Athearn.
Later in the card, Just Enuf Sass continued his winning ways after taking the co-featured $12,000 conditioned trotting event for 6-year-olds and under.
Just Enuf Sass (Mike Stevenson) left sharply from the pylons and led the whole race by a comfortable 1-1/2 length margin. After cutting quarters of :28.3, :59.1 and 1:27.4, Stevenson hand-drove Just Enuf Sass to the wire where he won by two lengths in 1:57.2.
It was the fifth straight win (going back to 2019) for Just Enuf Sass ($3.40) who is owned by Ed Flynn and Joe Flynn, who also trains the winner.
Mitchell Cushing, Nick Graffam and Bruce Ranger each had two driving wins Friday while trainer Mike Graffam led all conditioners with two wins as well.
After one week of racing at The Ridge, Team Graffam has been a force to be reckoned with. Nick Graffam currently tops the driver colony with seven wins and Mike Graffam is the top trainer with five wins in the bank.
Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Monday (July 20) with post time at 4 p.m.
Plainridge Park will present a special Sunday (July 26) afternoon card on when the $250,000 Spirit of Massachusetts Trot and $100,000 Clara Barton Distaff Pace will be held. Post time for the matinee is 2 p.m.