by James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media
Awsome Valley strikes late in top Tioga trot
Nichols, N.Y. -- Enjoying a pocket trip behind Bourbon Bay, but hard pressed for racing room on the far turn, Awsome Valley ($7.00) emerged up the pegs in the final 70 yards to take Saturday (July 11) evening's $14,000 Open Trot at Tioga Downs.
Aaron Byron pressed early up the inside with the 6-year-old Valley Victor gelding, ultimately ceding the lead to track record holder Bourbon Bay (John Cummings, Jr.) through a :27.3 initial quarter. Bourbon Bay would control the terms through an uncontested :58.4 middle half, but Awsome Valley ended up boxed on the far turn as I'm Fabulous (Jim Taggart, Jr.) turned up the pressure after a 1:26.2 three-quarter sectional. As I'm Fabulous closed in, 6-5 favorite Valley of Sin (Jim Meittinis) angled three-wide off cover, and Bourbon Bay was pushed to his limit, Awsome Valley was crying out for racing room with no shortage of late trot. In the final sixteenth, a lane opened up along the pegs for Awsome Valley, and he pushed through to prevail by a half length in 1:55.1. Valley of Sin mustered second honors off his belated surge, while I'm Fabulous just collared Bourbon Bay to take third.
Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. trains Awsome Valley for the Revocable Trust of Barbara Boese.
Mike Simons led all drivers with three wins on the nine-race card, prevailing with his own Vacation Day ($14.40, 1:57.2) along with Yolo Lindy ($5.30, 2:00) and Military Blue ($2.90, 1:55.2). His son Shawn registered a training double on the evening's program.
Live racing returns to Tioga Downs with a 10-race Sunday card. Post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, and fans are invited to arrive early to receive a replica Jim Marohn, Jr. colors shirt (while supplies last).