by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Sustaining a first-over bid, Prairie Jaguar ($18.00) wore down Fireyourguns before kicking clear to a 1:50.4 win over a late-closing JK Panache in Sunday (June 15) afternoon's $14,000 Open 1 Handicap Pace at Tioga Downs.
The six-year-old Spy Hard gelding commenced his bid after Fireyourguns (Aaron Byron) was used to clear the lead at a :54.4 half mile, pushing steadily to keep the pace hot on the approach to the far turn. With 300 yards to go, the two were level, and Jim Marohn, Jr. kicked clear with Prairie Jaguar at head-stretch. As Fireyourguns faded through the stretch, the late threat came in the form of JK Panache (Rick Plano), who fanned wide off Prairie Jaguar's live cover, closing to within 1-3/4 lengths for second honors. The Ladies Man (Corey Braden) made a late bid for third.
Trainer Mike Deters co-owns Prairie Jaguar with Laurie Lee Poulin.
Three $12,500 first-round divisions of the Nichols True Value late-closing series for pacers were contested on the undercard, with Moonlight Ransom (1:53.3, Jimmy Whittemore), Real Illusion (1:53.0, Brandon Simpson), and Agood Time to Rock (1:53.1, Jim Marohn, Jr.) all proving victorious.
Live racing resumes at Tioga on Saturday (June 21) evening, with first post scheduled for 6:15 p.m. EDT.