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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Strong Hope, Noble Legend Pull Buffalo Raceway Surprises

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There were a couple of surprises at Buffalo Raceway on a gorgeous Friday night (June 3).

First, Strong Hope stunned the betting public again with an easy 2-1/2 length victory over Cold Certified in the $10,000 Open Trot.

But not to be outdone two races later, Noble Legend set the track record for four-year-old gelding trotters with a 1:57.3 time over the fast track in beating Red Clay in a $8,200 conditioned event by a half length. It erased the old standard of 1:58.2 held by Sams Hope (2003), Baby Boy Grin (2009) and BZ Glide (2013).

Noble Legend ($3.40), driven by Kevin Cummings, was third at the top of the lane and used a late charge to nip Red Clay in the record setting clocking.

Owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice, Noble Legend (Kadabra-Lovin It) has earned $25,758 this season thanks to four wins in 14 appearances this season. Maria Rice trained the winner.

In the feature, Strong Hope returned $22.20 for the win to go along with his $11.80, $17.40 and $53.50 in previous victories since April 1. The 9-year-old also has had two second places finishes during that stretch as well, but ironically has yet to go off the post time favorite. 

As expected, Lutetium (Kevin Cummings) set the fractions starting from the seven post and put up reasonable splits of 28.3, 59.1 and 1:29.0. Strong Hope, who sat fourth from the beginning, was first over to the half and was on even terms with Lutetium at the top of the stretch.

There was no denying Strong Hope in the lane however as he powerfully trotted away from the field and left second place finisher Cold Certified (Shawn McDonough) and third place finisher B Z Glide (Mike Caprio) in his wake.

Owned and trained by Joe Agostino, it was the fifth win in 18 tries this season for Strong Hope (Cr Excalibur-Spring Lane Joanie). It moved his seasonal earnings to $35,691 and $536,574 lifetime.

James McNeight Jr. got his first pari mutual win ever as the 19-year-old steered Jim Dandy to a $9.70 win in the eleventh race.

Kevin Cummings had five wins in the bike while Fisher Jr. finished the night with a four-bagger. Angelo Nappo scored a training triple.

Racing will continue on Saturday night with an 11-race card set for 6 p.m.

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