Top Royal ($11.00) circled three-wide through the final five-sixteenths of a 1:54.3 mile to capture her thirteenth career win in Wednesday night’s (August 23) featured $10,000 Preferred 2-3 Handicap for distaff pacers at Grand River Raceway.
J Harris settled the four-year-old Royal Mattjesty mare in mid-division early on while Cracklin Rosie (J. R. Plante) blazed through a :26.4 first quarter. As the second flight closed in behind the pacesetting trio—which also included the pocket-sitting Solid Queen (Alfie Carroll) and War Filly (Ryan Holliday), Top Royal angled second-over behind Love To Roll (Robert Shepherd) nearing the half in :55.1.
Midway up the far side on the second occasion, Harris angled Top Royal off cover, and she accelerated at once. So too, however, did Love To Roll, and the pair engulfed Cracklin Rosie just after passing the three-quarter mark in 1:24.3. Top Royal went on to duel down Love To Roll in mid-stretch, and edged away through the final 70 yards to prevail by a length. Alphabet Queen (Travis Henry) chased cover to take third in the final eighth and maintain it through the stretch.
Top Royal, a Preferred 2 winner at Grand River in July, earned her fifth seasonal win for Brydown Farms, Inc. and trainer Nicholas Boyd.
In a sub-featured $8,000 pacing event for fillies and mares, Tauriel ($24.10) dug deep to turn aside Maddys Credit for a 1:56.1 pillar-to-post triumph. Scott Coulter drove the four-year-old Mach Three mare for owner-trainer James Barton.
Harris would share top driving honours on the night with Travis Cullen; both reinsmen posted doubles on the 10-race card.