Hellabalou in terrific 1:51.1 seasonal debut at Philly

Chester, PA – Over a Harrah’s Philadelphia oval not friendly to closing horses, the Sweet Lou sophomore colt Hellabalou made a startling 2021 debut on Wednesday (April 14) winning an $11,200 co-featured pace in 1:51.1, covering his own last half officially in :53.

Hellabalou was third-over as pacesetter Step On The Gas attempted to take his third in his last four, but when driver Andrew McCarthy sent him wide early on the backstretch to circle dull cover, he responded with a sizzling :25.4 individual third quarter, kept going around the first-over to get in a challenging position on the far turn, and then paced away to a 1¾ length victory over a very good Step On The Gas.

Hellabalou, who took a new mark here, showed promise early as a freshman with a win in an Arden Downs Stake on Adios Day at The Meadows, but then his fortunes went south and he was stopped with around Labor Day. Trainer Eddie Dennis was in the sulky when Hellabalou qualified in 1:54.2, :27.2 for his qualifier, and now owner Eric Good finds himself with at least a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes prospect, if not more.

In the other co-feature for pacers, Montrell Teague sent Nextmovebestmove, an altered son of Mr Wiggles who had won the only race of his career the year before, out to the lead, then kept him going to the wire to lower his mark to 1:53.4 for trainer Clyde Francis and owners George Teague Jr. Inc. and David Collins.

If this pattern and general cast of characters seems reminiscent, that’s because the story of Nextmovebestmove parallels one of a horse named Wiggle It Jiggleit – who would win his first ten starts in his second campaign and go on to become a legend. Nextmovebestmove is now four and won his only start at three after missing all his freshman season, but if he could develop anywhere near his illustrious stablemate, …

In the $11,200 feature for trotters, Ginger Tree Knox showed steady improvement throughout the last three-eighths of a mile, catching first-over Real McCoy while reducing his record to 1:56.1. Andrew McCarthy, top driver on the day with three successes, guided the Bar Hopping gelding for trainer Steve Cook and the partnership of Sam Beegle, Ginger Tree Ventures LLC, Double D Racing Stable, and Reber-Chesen Stable.

“Trottin’ Thursday”’s card at Harrah’s Philly will feature fast and competitive races among the veterans of the racing wars and the up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. First post is at 12:25 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.

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