Columbus, MN — The Sunday evening (Aug. 25) program at Running Aces featured Open Handicap events for both trotters and pacers as the highlights of the 11-race card.
The $15,000 Open Handicap Trot drew a field of seven starters on the gate, with last week’s winner Winning Lyric sent off as the overwhelming public choice at 3-5 on the board.
French Eclipse (Rick Magee) was first to the front, but Banker Volo (Nick Roland) quickly took over before the :28 quarter, and Dean Magee and Winning Lyric launched an early first-over attack near the :58.2 half-mile to surge to the front. Its A Horse (Tim Maier) immediately came after the new leader and applied heavy pressure down the backstretch and onto the final turn.
Winning Lyric ($3.40) fought back gamely as they turned for home and began to pull away from the field, trotting strong to the wire for a 2-3/4 length victory and two wins in a row, with Its A Horse and French Eclipse hitting the line together in a dead-heat for second in a sharp 1:55.2 mile over a track listed as good.
Winning Lyric has had a fantastic campaign this summer at Running Aces, with five wins, four seconds and three thirds from 13 starts for owner Terrence Smith and trainer Edward Hernandez.
Fox Valley Nemitz and driver Brian Detgen picked up a big win in the $17,000 Open Handicap Pace to get home first from post seven in a talented 10 horse field.
Contemporay Legend (Rick Magee) flew off the gate for the early lead while Bettor’s Promise (Mooney Svendsen) left alertly and both Firedrake (Nick Roland) and Nine Ways (Dean Magee) also came away charging fast into the first turn looking for a front position, through a fast :27.1 opening panel.
Firedrake pressed up alongside Contemporay Legend and led through the middle stages (:56 and 1:24.2) but was parked the entire way, never finding the pylons. Despite the brutal trip, Firedrake continued to fight on and eventually cleared, only to face immediate strong pressure from Nine Ways who had also been out the entire way.
Firedrake turned back the challenge of Nine Ways, then fought off Skim The Top (Don Harmon) but was unable to withstand a furious late charge from Fox Valley Nemitz on the far outside.
Fox Valley Nemitz came from way off the pace and rallied three-wide around the final turn, finding clear sailing in about the four-path in the lane to sweep by for a 1-1/2 length victory in 1:53 over Firedrake who kept the rest of the field at bay and held second in a monster effort.
Fox Valley Nemitz ($30.00) now has five wins in 16 outings this year, with earnings of $45,855 for owner Susan Holm-Johansen. The winning trainer is Ulf Holm-Johansen.
Drivers Jared Seekman and Dean Magee led the program, each with a driving double.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Tuesday (Aug. 27) with a full menu of carryover pools: $851.54 for the Early Pick-3, $1,847.25 for the Early Pick-4, $2,268.90 for the Jackpot Pick-5, and $1,067.17 for the High-5. Post time for the 12-race program is 7 p.m. (CDT).