Hambletonian Day belonged to driver George Brennan and a couple of trotters who provided a few surprises on the biggest day in harness racing.
Brennan guided Broad Bahn to a pace-setting 3 1/4-length victory in the $1.5 million Hambletonian for colts and geldings at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.
His trip to the winner’s circle yesterday came a little more than a half-hour after the driver piloted long shot Bold and Fresh to an upset in the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks for fillies.
Brennan is the second driver to win the Oaks and Hambletonian on the same day. Brian Sears did it two years ago with Broadway Schooner in the Oaks and Muscle Hill in the Hambletonian.
“This is a monumental day for me,’’ Brennan said. “I just remember when Sears did it a few years ago and remember what a day it was for him.’’
Broad Bahn trotted the mile in 1 minute 53 seconds.
Favored Manofmanymissions and driver Andy Miller challenged Broad Bahn and Brennan in the stretch, but the result was all but decided when Manofmanymissions went off stride and finished eighth in the 10-horse field. Longshot Whiskey Tax finished second. Opening Night was another two lengths back in third.
Board Bahn, who won one of the two eliminations for this race last weekend, paid $14.60, $7, and $5.60. Whiskey Tax paid $26 and $11.60, while Opening Night showed at $6.40.
West Virginia Derby - Favored Prayer for Relief passed early leader Rush Now in the final strides to win the $750,000 Grade 2 race at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Prayer for Relief, sent off as the 6-5 favorite, trailed Rush Now by 2 1/2 lengths in the stretch, but rallied to win by a half-length in 1:05.68 to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his second consecutive derby win.
Sherriff Cogburn, owned by country music star Toby Keith and ridden by 59-year-old jockey Perry Compton, was third.
Prayer for Relief paid $4.60, $3, and $2.60. Rush Now paid $5.60 and $3.80, and Sherriff Cogburn $3.60.
Whitney Invitational Handicap- Tizway dominated 10 opponents in winning the $750,000 race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh sent Tizway to the lead with 5/16ths of a mile to run and the 6-year-old was immediately in control. Tizway was 3 lengths in front of Flat Out at the wire, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.43.
The victory guarantees Tizway a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at
Tizway paid $10.20, $5.50, and $4.40. Flat Out earned $6.10 and $4.20 and Giant Oak returned $5.20 to show.
Test Stakes - Heavily favored Turbulent Descent scored an easy victory in the $250,000 race for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga.
With David Flores aboard, Turbulent Descent made a decisive move at the quarter pole and quickly opened a clear lead that she expanded to 3 3/4 lengths before finishing in 1:24.17. Pomeroys Pistol was second and Roman Treasure third of nine.
Turbulent Descent paid $3.90, $2.70, and $2.10. Pomeroys Pistol returned $5.90 and $3.90. Roman Treasure paid $4.30.