by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It was trainer Maria Rice's birthday on Saturday evening (June 24) and her trainee, China Dream, gave her a great present by winning the featured $9,000 Preferred Pace at Buffalo Raceway in a seasonal best 1:54.1 over the fast track.
China Dream (Drew Monti) led at every quarter mile station and held off a pesky Lucky McTrucky (Kevin Cummings) by a half length. Show Stopping (Ray Fisher Jr.) took the show position.
Starting from the rail, the favored China Dream ($4.40) played the give-and-go with Lucky McTrucky and set the fractions with a 28.3, 56.4 and 1:25.2.
China Dream started to drift out in the charge for the wire but stayed the course long enough to turn back the threat of Lucky McTrucky.
Co-owned by Jack and Maria Rice, the 6-year-old gelded China Dream (If I Can Dream-China Art) has won five times in 19 outings in 2017. The win upped his seasonal earnings to $40,770 and $213,443 lifetime.
Cummings notched a driving triple while Monti and Jim Morrill Jr. had doubles.
Racing will continue on Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. with a 10-race program scheduled. The New York Sire Stakes will highlight the action with the 3-year-old trotting fillies set to do battle in a pair of events worth more than $58,000 each. Barn Bella, the defending NYSS champion, headlines the fifth race field. She arrives riding a 10-race win streak.
There will also be races contested in the Excelsior A and B Series.
For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, race replays and results, go to www.buffaloraceway.com