by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Edward and James Hall's Rock N Load ($12.00) controlled the pace throughout in Friday (June 6) evening's $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 Handicap distaff pace at Tioga Downs, turning aside a first-over challenge from 3-5 favorite Little Santamonica en route to a 1:52.4 victory.
The six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare achieved the lead easily, clearing Miss Annie J (Jason Bartlett) through a :28.1 first quarter and controlling the terms through a rated :57 half. On the backstretch, Aaron Byron moved Little Santamonica first-over, but her attempt at a sixth consecutive win was rebuffed by Rock N Load on the entry to the far turn. With the favorite fading, Rock N Load was left to stave off a late rally from Passion R Virginie (Jim Marohn, Jr.), digging in to prevail by 1-1/2 lengths. Miss Annie J stayed on for third off the pocket trip.
John Cummings, Jr. drove Rock N Load for trainer Daniel Gill.
Four $12,500 first-round divisions of the Morrisville College late-closing series were also on the card, with Cal Chips Brother (1:54.3, Corey Braden) fastest of the four winners. Stitch in Time (1:56, Tyler Buter), Spaced Out (1:56.3, Mike Simons), and You Rock My World (1:56.2, Jason Bartlett) prevailed in their respective divisions, as well.