Jenn Bongiorno could not have asked for much better in the Dec. 18 Preferred Handicap pace at Freehold Raceway. Her two entrants, Brackley Beach and Missile Seelster, finished 1-2, with Brackley Beach getting the nod in a 22/1 upset.
Missile Seelster, leaving from the inside post position, took control early on and established very slow fractions with driver Joe Bongiorno, according to a press release from the harness track.
The opening quarter-mile went in a cushy :29 and the first half-mile went in a dawdling :58.3. With those fractions, Missile Seelster looked like he had a big edge over his rivals.
Sensing the slow pace in front of him, Luke Hanners decided to move with Brackley Beach, and moved him first-over out of third as the hordes moved up the backstretch.
Rounding the far turn, the stablemates were on equal terms, with Missile Seelster battling back on the inside and Brackley Beach continuing to come on the outside.
In the stretch, the two horses continued their tussle, but Brackley Beach slowly began to pull ahead.
In the final few yards, Brackley Beach cemented his advantage and he won by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. Missile Seelster finished second, one-and-three-quarter lengths clear of third place finisher Warrawee Total.
Brackley Beach is owned by Robert Weinstein. Brackley Beach has won six times on the year from 38 starts, and has won twice since being claimed by Bongiorno in late October at Yonkers Raceway.
Live harness racing will resume at Freehold Raceway on Dec. 31, according to the press release.