by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Strong Hope ($5.10) remained razor sharp and proved it by lowering his own track record in winning the $10,000 Open Trot in 1:56.3 over the fast track at Buffalo Raceway on Friday night (June 17).
He beat his own standard of 1:57.1 (aged 5+ colt) set this season on April 16. Strong Hope has now won four times in his last eight starts along with a trio of second place finishes.
It was the sixth time this year a track record has been rewritten at Buffalo Raceway.
With the field scratched down to five, Cold Certified tried to cut the mile with splits of 29.1, 59.0 and 1:28.0. But with a quarter mile to trot, Cold Certified called it a night and the first-over Strong Hope (Ray Fisher Jr.) powerfully took command and never looked back in the stretch, putting away the field with a 28.3 last panel.
The battle for the minor spoils went to Serious George (Mike Caprio) who finished 3-3/4 lengths behind the winner while Northern Matador (Jim Morrill Jr.) took third.
Owned and trained by Joe Agostino, Strong Hope (Cr Excalibur-Spring Lane Joanie) is a 9-year-old horse who has six wins in 20 attempts this season. The victory upped his 2016 winnings to $43,191 and $544,074 lifetime.
Fisher Jr. and Drew Monti each had triples in the bike while Angelo Nappo and Agostino each doubled.
Racing will resume on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a 10-race card scheduled. The Pick-5 has a $993 carryover starting in the fifth race.
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