by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
After winning nearly half of his races as a three-year-old, the Harbor Racing Stable's Rossini ($6.80) dug in to stave off a late charge from Dough Dough en route to a 1:53.4 win in the $14,000 Open I Handicap Trot on Sunday (May 25) evening at Tioga Downs.
The four-year-old Classic Photo gelding dueled for the lead through a :28 first quarter, clearing just off the first turn. After completing a :56.4 half-mile while uncontested, Rossini faced a strong first-over challenge from Tirade Hanover (John MacDonald) on the backstretch, responding and sprinting clear on the far turn. A late challenge from the pocket-sitting Dough Dough came up just short, as Rossini was driven out to prevail narrowly.
Howard Parker handled the driving duties aboard Rossini for trainer Jim Raymer. Meanwhile, favorite Splitsville (Jim Marohn, Jr.) saw his winning streak end at four, as he was forced to chase the entire mile, breaking stride in upper stretch after being caught in a blind switch.
Live racing resumes at Tioga on Monday (May 26) afternoon, with the thirteen-race Memorial Day card beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.