Taking Liberties and Declan Downs score in Leg 2 of the McFadden Memorial Claiming Series

Taking Liberties and Declan Downs score in Leg 2 of the McFadden Memorial Claiming Series

Taking Liberties and Declan Downs cemented their statuses as serious players in the $26,900 McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series Final on December 7th, as they both scored solid victories in their respective divisions of Leg 2.   Both of those winners earned five points in the Claiming Series and are both eligible to run in the finals, as the top 12 point earners will be eligible for the six furlong final.

Taking Liberties took home the first division of Leg 2 in race 8 as he and jockey Javier Matias were able to get a very comfortable trip on the front end, just behind early pacesetter Hit the Juice who set the opening quarter fraction of 22.34 seconds.  As the field moved on the turn, the six runners all bunched up, with only three lengths separating the group as the turned for home.  Taking Liberties looked to have re-broke at the top of the stretch and kicked clear as both D Devil and Inhoc Signo Vinces came after him.  Taking Liberties was able to hold them at bay and win by a length and three quarters over D. Devil who finished second, and Inhoc Signo Vinces in third.  Favored Rallying Cry could only manage a fourth place finish.   Final time for division 1 was 1:04.66 for the five and one half furlongs.   Taking Liberties is owned and trained by Howard Belvoir. 

Two of the runners in the first division were claimed for $4,000.   Rallying Cry was won in a 9 way shake by owner Jeanette Orsborne and trainer Debbie Van Horne while Inhoc Signo Vinces was claimed and goes to new owner Michael Pollowitz, for trainer Guru Dharma Khalsa.

In the second division it was Declan Downs who rebounded after a disappointing fourth place finish in Leg 1 to score on Wednesday afternoon for new connections, owner Michael Pollowitz and trainer Guru Dharma Khalsa.  Mark Anderson was on board as Declan Downs jumped right out to the front and set a steady pace, with an opening quarter mile in 22.47 and a half in 46.04.  As the field came to the quarter pole, Castle Pines made a big run after Declan Downs, but as they straightened away, Declan Downs and Anderson dug in and held all the runners at bay, even a late closing Roaring to Go who rolled up to get second, a length and a quarter behind the winner Declan Downs.  Castle Pines stayed on for third while favored Colonel Courtney could only manage fourth.  The final time for division 2 was 1:04.70 for the five and one half furlongs.
Three of the six runners in division 2 were claimed.  The winner Declan Downs was claimed in a two way shake and went to owner/trainer Jim Fergason.  Roaring To Go was claimed in a 11 way shake and went to new owners Jerry Hollendorfer and Tom Roberts, with Jerry Hollendorfer the new trainer.  Colonel Courtney went to owner Michael Pollowitz and trainer Guru Dharma Khalsa in a 12 way shake.

Going into the $26,900 finals on December 7th, here is the point standings.  The top 12 point earners who participated in both legs are eligible for the finals.  

Standings after 2 legs:
1.  D Devil,  9 points
2.  Taking Liberties, 8 points
2.  Roaring To Go, 8 points
4.  Declan Downs, 7 points
4.  Rallying Cry, 7 points
6.  Colonel Courtney,  6 points
7.  Smoken Sham, 4 points
7.  Castle Pines, 4 points
9.  Inhoc Signo Vinces, 3 points
10.  Brainstorm, 2 points
10.  Swiss Exploit, 2 points
12. Hit The Juice, 0 points