Woodbine invader Jake Loewen ($26.50) took full advantage of a pocket trip and a contested pace, just reaching to collar Boomboom Ballykeel in the final stride of a 1:57.4 mile in the featured $11,500 Preferred 2 pacing event on New Year’s Day at The Raceway at Western Fair District.
Bruce Richardson and the seven-year-old Rambaran gelding attended the pace from the pole, securing the pocket behind Boomboom Ballykeel (Travis Henry), who sprinted clear from his assigned outside post 7 not even two strides into the first turn. While Boomboom Ballykeel was subject to steady first-over pressure from Reel (J Harris) through splits of :29.1 and :58.2 over good going and amid cold air, Jake Loewen was able to remain fresh for the stretch drive from the pocket.
After Reel leveled off nearing three-quarters in 1:27 and Pauly Wally (Bob McClure) failed to mount a three-wide bid on the far turn from his stalking trip, Richardson found room to angle Jake Loewen off the pegs just after cornering up for home. Boomboom Ballykeel was called upon for all he had in the final 150 yards, but could not stave off Jake Loewen after being taxed by early exertion. Jake Loewen prevailed by head, while Pauly Wally stayed on enough to save third while two lengths in arrears. Resistance Futile (Ryan Holliday), a Preferred 3 winner in his first start back from an autumn spell, rallied belatedly from astern to take fourth.
Trainer Jim Ellis co-owns Jake Loewen—now a 17-time winner—with breeder Sven Hansen.
In the sub-featured $8,900 Preferred 3 pacing event, Its A Big Secret ($5.30) vaulted from the pocket to reel in the front-stepping Mister X and kick 3-1/4 lengths clear, covering a mile and a sixteenth in 2:05.2. Bob McClure drove the seven-year-old Matts Scooter gelding for Dean and Justin Nixon.