by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
After stalking moderate early fractions, Splitsville ($3.70) made his move to the fore on the backstretch, driven clear late to prevail in Saturday (May 17) evening's $14,000 Open Handicap trot at Tioga Downs.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the five-year-old Hard Rock N Roll gelding, who launched a first-over bid as pacesetter Brookroad Knight (Corey Braden) rated a :58 half-mile with Wisenheimer (Mike Merton) stalking from the pocket. Driver Jim Marohn, Jr. forced a quickening tempo on the backstretch, striking the lead with Splitsville through three-quarters in 1:25.3, wearing down Brookroad Knight, and holding off a three-wide bid form Wisenheimer for a 1:54.2 victory.
Splitsville, who scored his 21st career win, is trained by Rob Harmon for the Harmon Racing Stable.
Marohn scored a driving hat trick on the night, also victorious with Jolly Lester (1:55.0) and Fox Valley Legend (1:57.0), but was kept at bay for the top spot in the seasonal driving standings by Aaron Byron, whose victory with Sundowner Bob (2:00.0) kept him with a scant 13-12 lead early in the meet.
Racing resumes at Tioga Downs on Sunday (May 18) afternoon, with the first of 11 races scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.