Plainville, MA --- There were two stars at Plainridge Park on Thursday (July 12); one was in front of the race bike and one was sitting in it.
Massachusetts-bred Muscles Jared made a visit home from his New York base at Vernon Downs and impressed the locals by winning the $14,000 Winners-Over trotting feature. Sharing the spotlight was reinsman Drew Campbell, who drove five winners during the 10-race card.
Muscles Jared (Shawn Gray) was a determined leaver and took the front with authority. From there he set moderate fractions to the half before Jericho (Joe DiStefano) came first-up and tried to push the issue. But as the outside interloper drew near, Muscles Jared switched a gear and trotted up the backstretch in :28.
As the race headed into the final turn, Jericho packed it in and Muscles Jared continued on cruise control. He opened up a five-length lead by the head of the stretch, and after Gray looked over his shoulder and tucked away his whip, Muscle Jared flew home a wrapped-up winner in 1:54.1, which was only one-fifth of a second off his lifetime mark.
The homecoming was also the 11th win in 37 lifetime starts for Muscles Jared ($4.20) who now boasts $380,034 in earnings for his all-Massachusetts connections that include owner Al Ross of Dartmouth and trainer George Ducharme, originally of Walpole.
North American leading Universal Driver Rating (UDR) pilot and Plainridge Park top dash driver Drew Campbell was on fire Thursday, winning half of the 10 races on the card. In the eight races he drove in, Campbell won five and was second and third one time each, giving him an unbelievable .736 UDR for the day. These numbers clearly illustrate why he leads in both of these categories.
Campbell had his picture taken with Prayers Do Matter (1:56.2, $2.20), Armenian Warrior (1:51.2, $2.80), Panhellenic (1:53, $13.40), Vodkancaviar (1:55.4, $10.40) and Nathaniel (1:53.4, $8.00).
Campbell now has 96 wins for the meet, 29 ahead of second place Greg Merton. He also maintains his North American UDR lead with a .429 mark to date.
There were no winners in the Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta wager in the sixth race today. As a result, there will be a carryover of $8,723 in tomorrow’s sixth betting event when live harness racing action resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday afternoon (July 13) at 4 p.m.