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Harness Highlights: Shortened Schedule, Notable Performances

by Frank Carulli

March 22, 2020

North America’s harness tracks are going dark by the day over coronavirus concerns. But there were some noteworthy performances recently before the action was suspended indefinitely.

Woodbine-Mohawk Park handled more than $4.5 million over two cards on the March 13-14 weekend, but racing was put on hold at the Ontario track last weekend. Jonathan Drury filled the pockets of longshot players with a driving triple that included Major Hill ($70) and a driving double on Mister Magic ($41) and Ynothos ($23) that triggered $1 superfecta payouts of $8,500 and $2,934, respectively.

Northfield Park ran 61 races over four days with no fans in attendance until last Saturday’s card was cancelled by the Ohio Racing Commission. Aaron Merriman, Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Ryan Stahl enjoyed five-win nights, while Chris Lems posted a four-bagger during that span. Stahl won on Bunkndunk ($31.20) last Tuesday and a $20 win bet on his 13 drives would have produced a $490 profit.

The Maryland Jockey Club suspended live racing at Rosecroft Raceway after the March 18 card, simmering the hot hand of driver Roger Plante Jr. He guided longshots DVC Kolorme Krazy ($26.80) and The Illuminator ($21) and feature-race winner Arts And Flowers during a five-win night.

Pompano Park in Florida was enjoying a good handle surge before it went dark last Wednesday. Bueller (Kevin Wallis, $6.80) finished in front of a parade of longshots in Tuesday’s final race for a $90,000 pentafecta payout on numbers 2-3-7-5-6. Wally Hennessey, the track’s leading driver, won the Masters Of The Mile competition earlier in the month, beating a star-studded cast that included fellow Hall of Famers David Miller, Dave Palone and Tim Tetrick and Top 25 all-time leading drivers Tony Morgan, Peter Wrenn, Kevin Wallis and Bruce Ranger.

Cal-Expo appears the only track to not cancel as a new week dawns. Favorites won all three ‘open’ races last weekend. Nick Roland won on pacer Heza Real Diamond for trainer Edwin Quevedo and trotter Mandeville for trainer Gerald Longo. James Kennedy piloted odds-on mare pacer Velocity Mcsweets.