The sophomore Betting Line colt Double Metal was the most impressive of the four winners of the $12,600 features at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Friday afternoon (June 25).
Gretzky shot out to the lead in :27.2 and did not yield to challengers, stringing out the field past a :56 half after His Beats Hanover broke amid an early bid. Favoured Betterthanthebeach pulled the pocket to challenge him, but the pacesetter would not yield at the 1:23 three-quarters and around the far turn.
Tim Tetrick moved Double Metal outside on the far turn when the favourite started to edge by, swung wide of that one, and outpaced his rival by a half length in a new mark of 1:50.4, with Gretzky holding for third.
Double Metal made his breakthrough in this assemblage for pacing males, pacing his own last half in :54.1 for trainer Bruce Clarke and owners Rick Berks and Peter Blood.
Mikala, coming off both a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win and a layoff of 20 days, had more than enough to take a clear victory in the feature division for female pacers, though the race could well have been closer had not Chase Lounge been horribly shuffled – she did come back for second. But the Always B Miki filly Mikala was still a front-stepping dominant force in the 1:51.4 mile for driver George Brennan, trainer Nik Drennan, and the ownership of Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, Anthony Perretti Farm LLC and Drennan Stable LLC.
In one of two features for trotters, heavy favourite A Hopeful Prayer repaid her many backers by leading almost all the way in 1:55.1. The sophomore daughter of Father Patrick now has three wins and two seconds in her last five starts for driver Andy Miller, trainer Julie Miller, and the partnership of the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Little E LLC.
In the other trotting contest, Platinum AS made up 4-1/2 lengths in the stretch to just catch favourite Red Redemption by a head in 1:55.2. Tetrick drove the sophomore E L Titan colt for Anette Lorentzon and ACL Stuteri AB.
George Napolitano Jr. led all drivers with five wins; Tetrick recorded a hat trick, as did Troy Beyer, who swept the last three races on the card.
Elver Hanover is a slight favourite over Sandbetweenymytoes in the $16,200 featured pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday. First post time is 12:40 p.m.; program pages are available through the PHHA website.