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Racing Roundup: Leanback Coco tops distaffers at Tioga

Friday, July 22, 2011  By: Dustin Ross

Racing Roundup: Leanback Coco tops distaffers at Tioga

Friday’s Racing Roundup features stories from Tioga Downs, Scioto Downs and Vernon Downs.

Leanback Coco tops distaffers at Tioga

Nichols, N.Y. --- On Friday night at Tioga Downs, Leanback Coco and driver Phil Fluet captured the featured $18,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap pace. No stranger to the winner’s circle on Friday nights, Leanback Coco made her fourth trip there in her last five starts in Tioga’s featured Friday night race.

Assigned post position number six in a field of six, Fluet floated out from the gate and caught a spot in third as the field paced through fractions of :27 and :56. Turning down the backstretch aimed at three-quarters, Fluet moved Leanback Coco to her usual first-over spot and wore down the leader, Hello Great Mate, late in the stretch to win in 1:53.3.

It was the fifth win of the year for the 8-year-old daughter of Cambest--Racin For Angie for owner-trainer Ken Andersen of New Jersey. Lizzie’s Dream and Mike Merton paced home late to get up for second, while Hello Great Mate and Lewayne Miller hung on for third.

Phil Fluet posted a driving triple on the night’s nine-race card, while Ed Hensley posted a driving double. Tioga Downs will continues live racing on Saturday, July 23 at 6:50 p.m., easter. For more information about Tioga Downs visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Scioto Downs

It took a long time for Moira’s Bliss to get the lead, but then she refused to give it up and won the featured Fillies and Mares pace at Scioto Downs on Friday night. She scored for driver Ryan Stahl in 1:53.3. Noble Zena left alertly from the inside post position in the field of six, but she yielded to Shell I Attack soon after the opening panel in :27 seconds. When the pace slowed during the second quarter in :29 seconds, Ryan Stahl had the 3-5 favorite Moira’s Lass out of fourth and moving toward the front. Shell I Attack refused to yield and the third quarter was covered in :28 seconds, but Moira’s Bliss forged her way to the front as Shell I Attack faded. Once in the stretch, Moira’s Bliss had to hold off the late charge of Mindy Love Brown and driver Dan Noble, who fell a half-length short at the wire. Noble Zena held for third. It was the fourth win in the last five starts for Moira’s Bliss, who is trained by Gregory Straub. Driver Stahl owns the 5-year-old mare in partnership with Nichole Gagnon. During the 2011 season, the Blissfull Hall mare has five wins in 13 starts.

Vernon Downs

The veteran trotter Unshakeable capped an overland journey with a career-best 1:55.3 victory in Friday night’s $10,000 featured sixth race at Vernon Downs. With 10-time track driving champion Howard Okusko, Jr. doing the teaming for his wife, trainer Jessica Okusko, Unshakeable ($6.30) trotted in the outside rally route from fourth in the early going and closed from third in the final furlong to win by a head over Skad’s Winner, with Double A Gloria just a half-length back in third. The come from behind score was the second at the meet, third this season and 17th all-time for the 6-year-old bay son of Andover Hall--Sister Sammy, who raised his career bankroll to nearly $175,000. Driver Okusko owns the gritty gelding with Conrad Zurich and Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stables.


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