Columbus, MN — The 2020 Live Racing season at Running Aces got underway on Saturday (Jun 20) with a sold-out crowd and a strong wagering handle.
It was the first time in the track’s history that live racing was offered in the afternoon, which, when coupled with COVID-19 related effects like capacity restrictions made it hard for track officials to know just what to expect for this year’s opener. It’s safe to say that the day exceeded all reasonable predictions.
The racing on the track was as good as ever, and last year’s leading driver Dean Magee served notice immediately that he is here to defend his title after seating the field in behind his first race charge – 3-year-old pacing gelding Night Delight (Bettor’s Delight). They ripped off an opening quarter in :27.4 before taking a breather (:29.4) in the second panel for a :57.3 clocking. Magee then stepped on the gas pedal to keep the rest of the field in chase mode with a :28.4 third stanza and sealed the deal from there, coasting home in :29.4 to post a solid two length tally in 1:56.1 over race favorite Bunkerhill Phil (Don Harmon) and Catchmeinadream (Rick Magee). Night Delight ($11.40) is owned and trained by Edwin Quevedo.
All-Time Aces driving leader Nick Roland answered the challenge in race two with a solid steer behind race-favorite Haulin Oats ($3.80) for trainer Rick Bertrand in 1:56. It was the start of a natural double (with Twilight Tinker, in race three $4.20) and contributed to a Hat-Trick on the card for Roland who also scored another win for Edwin Quevedo with Luke’s Cowboy in the sixth event ($10.80).
Drivers Rick Magee and Don Harmon both had a good opening day scorecard as well, each recording a double.
Trotting Sire Braggart was extremely well represented on the card, going three-for-three and sweeping all of the days trotting events. With four starters on the program, Braggart prodigies and full siblings Twilight Tinker (Nick Roland, $4.20) and Bragginade (Dean Magee, $13.80) each won their events, while their half-brother Musclestobragon also scored a win (Lemoyne Svendsen, $13.60).
Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (June 21), at 1:00 p.m. (CDT) and continues on a Tuesday-Saturday-Sunday schedule throughout the summer. There will be a special Friday card on July 3 and no racing on Saturday (July 4).