by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Embroiled in an intense duel with Little Santamonica for the final three-eighths of a mile, Edward and James Hall's Rock N Load ($9.70) pushed clear in the last hundred yards to win Friday (June 13) evening's $14,000 Miracle Mile 1 distaff pace at Tioga Downs by a widening 1-1/2 lengths.
John Cummings, Jr. settled in midpack with the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, drafting well behind the :56.2 half mile rated by 9-5 favorite Little Santamonica (Aaron Byron) before commencing her first-over salvo. On the backstretch, the two locked together, accelerating together through a :27.1 third quarter. With Rock N Load a length in front on the entry to the far turn and the pocket-sitting Inittowinafortune (Jim Meittinis) working her way three-wide for a late bid, Little Santamonica dug back in for a brief lead off the turn, but was ultimately worn down, giving way in deep stretch. Rock N Load held sway from the late-closing Inittowinafortune, prevailing in 1:51.3. Southwind Trini (Jim Marohn, Jr.) stayed on late to finish third.
Rock N Load, now a 27-time winner, is trained by Daniel Gill.
Earlier on the card, two second-round divisions of the Morrisville College late-closing series for trotters were contested, with Cal Chips Brother (1:54.3, Corey Braden) and You Rock My World (1:55.2, Brandon Simpson) both scoring repeat wins in their respective races.
Racing resumes at Tioga on Saturday (June 14) evening, with the first of 12 races due to begin at 6:15 p.m. EDT.