by Frank Carulli
May 29, 2018
Will Take Charge lived up to his name and then some when he won the $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational last Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia. He sustained a first-over bid, overtook defending champion and pace-setter Crazy Wow on the final turn and held off favorite Marion Marauder to win by a length in a world-record equaling time of 1:50.3 for older trotters.
Jeff Gillis trains the $636,169 earner for Mac Nichol, who bought the 5-year-old gelding privately in November. Tim Tetrick drove the 5-to-2 second favorite to his 18th win in 61 starts.
"My horse raced first up from the quarter-pole on in a record time, so it was pretty special," said Tetrick.
Earlier this month, Will Take Charge finished second to reigning Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover at the Meadowlands. Hannelore Hanover also appeared at Harrah's Sunday, winning a division of the Great Northeast Open Series in a track-record 1:52.2 with Yannick Gingras in the bike.
Tetrick and Gingras weren't finished there. Tetrick guided Shartin N ($4.40) to a half-length victory in the $150,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers and Gingras piloted Filibuster Hanover, last year's Little Brown Jug winner, to a one-length victory over Heaven Rocks in the $150,000 Commodore Barry Invitational in 1:48.3. The previous week, Filibuster Hanover withstood a judges' inquiry for a possible pylon violation and won the $142,350 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs in 1:51.
MEADOWLANDS CROWNS THREE SERIES CHAMPS
Thinkbig Dreambig broke his maiden in the $47,000 final of the Escort Series at the Meadowlands last Saturday. The public made the 3-year-old pacer the odds-on favorite in his second start for Hall of Fame trainer-driver Jimmy Takter and the son of Bettor's Delight lived up to they hype, making a 3-wide bid for the lead nearing the stretch and battling back to win in 1:49.2 after Thor De Vie (Eric Abbatiello) rallied to take a brief lead.
In other series finals, K.J.'s Justine ($6, Abbatiello) won the $42,500 Rainbow Blue for 3-year-old pacing fillies in a lifetime-best 1:51.4, while Santiago Style ($4.20, Jim Marohn Jr.) captured the $35,000 Hot Lead for all-age pacers in 1:49.4.
TRUMP NATION HEARD FROM AT YONKERS
Trump Nation, the harness horse, held a state of the union address Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. He's doing quite well, mind you, winning the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds.
Driver Jason Bartlett was intent on making the lead with Trump Nation and did so through a :27.3 opening quarter mile and :56.3 half. Trump Nation shook a duel with 3-to-5 favorite Springsteen (Brian Sears) around the final turn and held off Minnie Vinnie for a 1-3/4-length win in 1:51.3 after that rival shook free from third in the stretch. Trump Nation paid $6.80 to win.
"I couldn’t have asked for the race to work out any better," Bartlett said of his first Rooney Pace victory. "I was able to back down the half and pick it up when Springsteen came at me."
Earlier on the card, homebred Alexa's Power ($3.70) took the lead near the half-mile marker after two rivals broke stride in front of her and she never looked back in winning the $111,444 Lismore Pace for sophomore fillies. Tim Tetrick was in the bike for his fifth Lismore victory as Alexa's Power finished 3/4 length in front in 1:53.4.
"It takes a special sort of filly to win the Lismore," said Tetrick. "You need one that can handle an audible if the plan changes."