The cliché of a "paid workout" gets bandied about when a horse wins with ease, but the term seemed to fit June 3 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
In an off-the-turf maiden special weight event Friday, eight of the nine fillies or mares entered scratched because of the surface switch, leaving only Timothy Thornton and Michael Cloonan's She's Lovely to take to the main track rated good (sealed).
Winless in four starts entering the 1 1/16-mile race, the 3-year-old Majesticperfection filly trained by Tom Proctor only needed to cross the wire upright to break her maiden and did so without incident in the "walkover" under jockey Ashley Castrenze, after breaking from the rail despite drawing the widest post in what was supposed to be a field of nine. Watch Video
She's Lovely ran fractions of :23.75 and :48.33 through a half-mile, then slowed considerably to hit six furlongs in 1:14.03. She finished off the 1 1/16 miles in 1:48.24 and earned $17,100 for her victory.
Relatively unoccupied as the filly moved through the backstretch, race caller John Bogar publicized June 4's Penn Mile (gr. IIIIT) program, along with an upcoming event featuring camel and ostrich races.
"Unfortunately, what happened was today was rainy, drizzly, and nasty all day," said Penn National racing director Eric Johnston. "With the big races tomorrow, we wanted to be safe."
Johnston said the one-horse race is likely the first of its kind at the Grantville, Pa., racetrack.
"I've been working in racing here or in other racing jurisdictions for 35 years, and I've never seen anything like that," Johnston said. "They don't write operations manuals for things like that, so we were flying by the seat of our pants. We like to make history around here, but not like that."