Columbus, MN — The weekly Mares Open Handicap Pace at Running Aces has consistently produced competitive and exciting races all season long, and this week’s edition was no exception. The $17,500 event lived up to expectations on Thursday’s (Aug. 26) program to highlight a great night of racing action, despite less than ideal weather conditions.
The entire field of six distaffers were lined up across the track in a thrilling finish in 1:55, with Oneida Blue Chip (Mooney Svendsen, $16.80) getting a neck in front of Hottieonthehorizon (Nick Roland) for the win over the sloppy racing surface.
Svendsen guided Oneida Blue Chip away in fourth position from the inside post as Rockin With Lou (Jacob Cutting) and Anna B (Brady Jenson) traded turns on the lead through the :57 opening half-mile. He then activated Oneida Blue Chip into attack mode and she went first-up and battled with Anna B all the way around the far turn and into the lane.
Oneida Blue Chip forged to the lead in deep stretch and paced strong to the wire to hold off a late charge from Hottieonthehorizon, with Rockin With Lou and the rest of the field not far behind.
The winner is a 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal, owned by Barbara Arnstine and trained by Kathleen Plested. She now has five wins on the season and 23 career wins.
The $17,250 Minnesota-sired sophomore ‘A’ pace went to Alilthundadownunda for his 11th win in 12 local starts this year. Driver Nick Roland floated his star pacer away in fifth position before launching to the outside just past the quarter-mile mark and taking control away from Maze (Rick Magee) near the :58 half-mile juncture.
Once on the lead, Alilthundadownunda was always comfortable and gamely held off a mid-race challenge from Doubleontherocks (Brady Jenson). As the field straightened for home, Alilthundadownunda kicked into another gear to draw clear for a 1-3/4 length tally in 1:56 over Maze and SD Watch Me Now (Brian Detgen).
The winner is owned by Set The Pace Racing and is also trained by Roland.
Weeha (Jacob Cutting, $14.80) scored a sharp one length tally in the $11,500 ‘B’ division for owners Bekkum Stables and trainer David Ginter.
Cutting worked out a perfect trip behind leader Mibwest Kid (Rick Magee) and surged past the front-runner in the lane, while Muffin Top (Brian Detgen) turned in a big first-over effort for third money.
There were two $8,100 divisions of the freshman Open Pace, with Bestaluck (Nick Roland, $3.80) dominating the male division in 1:57.3 for four wins in a row for trainer Ariel Alvarez, and Park With Me Nancy (Nick Roland, $2.40) delivering as the big favorite in the filly division in 1:56.3 for her fifth career win in eight starts for trainer Justin Anfinson.
The 5-year-old pacing mare Nat A Cam (Nick Roland, $10.80) scored a career best win in 1:55.2 in a $6,000 conditioned pace for 100-year-old owner Keith ‘Dudley’ Carey in the final race of the night. It was the fifth win of the year, and first start of the year at Aces, for Nat A Cam, who has now won 21 of 50 career races.
Drivers Jacob Cutting and Nick Roland dominated the Thursday program with grand-slam performances of four wins each, while Cutting and Justin Anfinson also posted training doubles on the card.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (Aug. 29) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT).