by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
K J's Caroline pounces late in distaff feature; Taggart sweeps first four
Nichols, N.Y. -- Taking advantage of a pocket trip and a blistering pace, K J's Caroline ($5.40) took charge late, holding off a bevy of closers in Friday (July 10) evening's $10,000 top-level pace for fillies and mares at Tioga Downs.
The 5-year-old Roddy's Bags Again mare dueled early with Stormunn (Aaron Byron), ceding the lead on the first turn but not without having a hand in forcing a taxing early pace. Stormunn worked clear through a :25.4 opening quarter over fast going, tracked intently by K J's Caroline through a :56.4 middle half. On the far turn, Jim Taggart, Jr. edged K J's Caroline out of the pocket, collaring the pacesetter in mid-stretch before edging clear. While Smokin N Grinin (Tyler Freese), Maejusmac (Dan Clements), and Forty Three (Jim Meittinis) all showed late pace from midfield or farther back, K J's Caroline held them all at bay, prevailing by a length in 1:52.
Gary Messenger trains K J's Caroline for owner/breeder Scott Woogen.
Taggart would go on to sweep the first four races of the evening's eight-race program, teaming up as well with Twin B Flirt ($3.00, 1:53.2), Purple N Gold ($4.00, 1:53.2), and Bullville Bren ($4.00, 1:57.3).
Live racing returns to Tioga on Saturday (July 11) evening, with a nine-race card due to begin at 6:15 p.m. Eastern time.