Columbus, MN — The Thursday night (July 22) program at Running Aces was loaded with sharp performances, and the $12,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was no exception.
Six talented distaffers faced the starting gate for the weekly Thursday feature and Hottieonthehorizon (Luke Plano) was the talk of the toteboard (6-5) after back-to-back wins in the last two weeks. Anna B (Brady Jenson) was the clear second choice in the wagering at 5-2.
Always Be Lucy (Nick Roland) battled hard for the early lead and had the call at the quarter pole (:27.4) before Hottieonthehorizon looped back to the front at the three-eighths marker with Anna B sitting in third.
Down the backside driver Dean Magee pulled the trigger on Rockin With Lou and she made an eye-opening brush to take the lead and open up by two lengths on the field. At the top of the lane it was abundantly clear that the race was for second place as Rockin With Lou ($9.00) continued to pace strong, widening her margin to 3-3/4 lengths at the wire in 1:53.1 with Rojo Caliente (Tony Kerwood) picking up the pieces for second and Hottieonthehorizon holding for third.
The winner is a 4-year-old daughter of Sweet Lou, owned and trained by Gerald Longo. The feature race win was her fifth tally this season and 12th career victory.
The $7,100 Sophomore Open Handicap Pace went to Alilthundadownunda for his seventh straight score. Trainer/driver Nick Roland left alertly from post eight to battle for the lead with May Day Maggie (Mooney Svendsen) through a quick :27.2 opening panel. SD Watch Me Now (Brian Detgen) got rolling from third to take over just past the quarter-mile and he was well in control of the race throughout the middle stages of :57 and 1:25.3 as Alilthundadownunda waited patiently in the pocket.
As they straightened for home it was Alilthundadownunda ($3.60) who was loaded with pace to the wire, surging past a very game SD Watch Me Now to post a 1-1/4 length tally in 1:53.4 for his ninth win of the season. The winner is owned by Set The Pace Racing.
There were two divisions of the Freshman Open Pace, with each split going for $7,100.
The first division went to Bestaluck (Dean Magee, $4.80), who made a sweeping move down the backstretch to get into contention from last, and then went on to pull away late in the lane for his first career win, stopping the timer in 1:56.4 over race favorite Lovin On You (Rick Magee). The winner is a gelded son of Luck Be Withyou and is owned by Brett Boyd Racing and trained by Ariel Alvarez.
The second split went to Park With Me Nancy ($3.00) for two in a row. Driver Nick Roland got her away in third before sweeping to the lead just past the half-mile mark. Once on the lead the daughter of Wind Me Up was never in doubt for a 1-1/2 length tally in 1:57.2 for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte and trainer Justin Anfinson.
Drivers Nick Roland, Dean Magee, and Luke Plano all registered doubles on the Thursday card.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (July 25) with first post at 6:05 p.m. (CDT) and will feature a carryover of $7,428.13 in the 20-cent Pick-5 Jackpot wager.