by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Wilberforce had the perfect answer for the late charging Lougazi in Buffalo Raceway's $15,000 Open Trot on Saturday afternoon (April 16)...don't look back.
wilberforce (1).jpg  
Photo by Bill Burke    
Wilberforce keeps on task to win Open Trot on Saturday.    
Setting the tempo on the front end, Wilberforce ($12.20) never succumbed to the relentless pressure applied from Lougazi and the pocket sitting Castyourcrown in the stretch and posted a non-threatening half length victory in 2:00.0 over the sloppy track.
While the closers couldn't figure out Wilberforce, Pembroke Joey ($12.40) rallied in the lane and easily pulled away to take the co-featured $14,000 Open I-II Handicapped Pace by defeating Reggiano by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:57.4.
Wilberforce (James McNeight Jr.), scoring from the rail, played 'give and go' with Castyourcrown and set sail by posting fractions of :30.4, 1:01.1 and 1:30.4. Lougazi, who began his first over journey heading down the stretch the first time, got into serious contention on the rim with a quarter of a mile to trot while Castyourcrown waited patiently in the pocket.
In the stretch, it looked like a perfect set up for the two closers but that didn't materialize. Wilberforce never wavered in the lane as he used a :29.1 final panel to keep both the second place finisher Castyourcrown (Jim Morrill Jr.) and Lougazi (David McNeight III) back at a safe distance.
Co-owned by Dale Wareham and trainer Kris Rickert, it was the second win in 11 starts on the season for the 10-year-old gelded Wilberforce (Caviar Crown-Rose Run Imprint). The victory upped his 2022 bankroll to $20,883 and $404,964 lifetime.
pemboke joey.jpg    
Photo by Bill Burke    
Pembroke Joey glides to easy victory in Open I-II pace.    
Pembroke Joey (Dan Yetman) made a big brush down the backstretch the final time to get into perfect striking distance then rolled on to the victory in the pacing main event.
Rockette Baby notched some ambitious splits of :29.4, :59.0 and 1:29.4 to lead the way but called it a day turning for home. Pembroke Joey in the meantime was in go mode and smartly pulled away from the field. Reggiano (McNeight III) won the tussle for second while Timeto Communicate (Jim Morrill Jr.) finished in third.
Owned by the Lav Racing Stable Inc., the 8-year-old Pembroke Joey (Roll With Joe-Puccini Blue Chip) has three victories in eight appearances on the campaign. The win sends his 2022 earnings to $26,275 and $176,617 lifetime.
Morrill Jr. notched four driving winners on the program with Kyle Cummings getting three and James McNeight Jr. two. Shawn McDonough and David Russo had training doubles.
Racing will resume on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. with a 10-race program scheduled.
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