Track records fall at Big Rapids (Mich.)

Big Rapids, MI — The two-day meeting at the Mecosta County Free Fair, which took place Monday (July 8) and Tuesday (July 9), produced the fastest miles yet of the 2024 Michigan fair harness racing season and also saw decades-old track records broken on both gaits.

Monday’s Michigan Colt Stakes card featured 2:00 miles in all three events for sophomore pacers, capped by a 1:58.2 track-record performance from Kourageous Key in the lone $10,950 Colt Stakes event for 3-year-old male pacers.

The Manhardt-Kwani Key gelding set fractions of :29.4, :59.1 and 1:29.2 before being driven out to evade pocket rival Deciding Factor by nearly three lengths and knock two-fifths of a second off the previous all-age track record for pacers, set in 1993 by Lon Todd’s Power and driver Vince Copeland.

Brad Kramer drove Kourageous Key to his second win in three starts this season for trainer Kelly Goodwin, who shares ownership with Sarah Goodwin.

Kramer and Goodwin also teamed up with Forever A Flirt, who posted a 1:59.4 mile in winning the second $5,600 division for sophomore pacing fillies and improved to three-for-three on the season.

Fancywontletyadown took the first split in 2:00 for Kramer and trainer Al Tomlinson.

The team of driver David Lake, trainer Kent Hess, and owner-breeder Marjorie Deshetsky enjoyed another lucrative night of racing, winning with 2-year-old trotting filly Kaa Dee Carol (2:08), 2-year-old pacing filly Kaa Dee Polly (2:07.2) and 3-year-old trotting gelding Kaa Dee Archie (2:05.3), all of whom are now three-for-three on the circuit. They also won with 3-year-old trotting filly Kaa Dee Kate (2:05.4). Lake was joined by Kramer in notching grand slams on the 12-race card.

The overnight portion of Tuesday’s 13-race card saw Lases Racing’s Chanceitlikeitis and trainer-driver Paul Cloer Jr. get within a tick of Kourageous Key’s day-old track record, winning in 1:58.3, before Judy Roegner’s homebred Rankin rolled to a 2:01.4 track-record mile in a $1,000 Free-For-All Trot.

With Kramer at the lines, Rankin sprinted to a 12-length lead over Randall Howey T through a :57 first half-mile. Although he tired considerably through the second lap, the 3-year-old Enterprise-Luvaformiles gelding still had roughly six lengths of clearance over runner-up Wonderful Day at the finish line, upending the 2:02.1 trotting mark set in 2000 by Mr Blackwell and Danny Davidson.

Kramer led all drivers on Tuesday with three wins; Don Harmon, Bart Stimer and Paul Cloer Jr. all registered doubles.

To watch replays, visit the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association YouTube page.

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