Verruso and Sheridan prevail in AHDC races at Freehold

Freehold, NJ — It was a frigid day in Freehold, N.J., and the cold weather brought some strange happenings in the first AHDC amateur trot event. Following the old saying, it’s better to be lucky than good, Anthony Verruso used every ounce of luck to prevail in what was the best bet race on the Saturday afternoon card.

Masster Blue returned a whopping $29.40 to win. Vicki Wright/World Wide Racing Photos.

Pilgrims Tide and Dante Scattolini used their rail position to leave strong and rebuff all early comers. Masster Blue with Anthony Verruso tried gamely to sit a pocket trip, but the fractions were strong. Dark Pool, who left hard, was able to settle in the two-spot approaching the half which went in a speedy :58.1.

The lead trio headed up the backside and with no challengers advancing from the rear of the field it looked like a three horse race to the wire. As they trotted through the last turn, Tony Beltrami started to move Dark Pool from the pocket, and just as he did, the leader Pilgrims Tide broke stride, causing Dark Pool to have to veer off to the right and break stride also.

Masster Blue, who was still sitting third, went right between them and became the immediate benefactor of the unusual events, inheriting a quick two length lead which he was easily able to hold over Vendor Bill and Maria De Bruijn who charged up for second.

Masster Blue, a 9-year-old Muscle Mass gelding, is owned and trained by John Novello. The seasoned gelding handsomely rewarded his backers as he returned a whopping $29.40 to win.

In the second heat, it was Fusion Power with Paul Minore launching out from the rail and hanging the fast leaving J S Peyton with Yogi Sheridan. Drazzmatazz and Verruso tried to keep the pocket closed once again and got away third on the rail.

As the speed duel approached the half, J S Peyton finally cleared to the lead in a blistering :57.1. Gruden and Beltrami made a first over bid at the new leader, but there was no catching J S Peyton as he scorched through the rest of the mile, tripping the timer in a blazing 1:57.2, winning by 3-1/2 lengths. Gruden held on for second with Finnick Odair and John Calabrese getting up for the show money.

J S Peyton, an 8-year-old Swan For All gelding, is owned by Mo Coo Inc. and trained by Candace Brandstatter. The betting public was sharp in this race, sending the gelding off as the favorite, returning $5.00 on the win end.

There will be two more AHDC races next Saturday (Feb. 11) at Freehold.

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