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Obrigado, Alexa Skye Win Freehold Co-Features Friday

Freehold Raceway rang in the new year on Friday (January 1), with a pair of Preferred Handicaps. One was one by an established veteran, the other by a possible rising star.

The Preferred Handicap trot went to Obrigado, who inched his earnings closer to the $2 million mark. Sent off as the 2/5 favorite in the field of seven, he was sent to the front early on from post position six by driver Dan Dube. He cleared to the front just after the quarter, and established firm control as they went by the half-mile point. After a solid opening quarter of 28 4/5 seconds over the “good’” track, he slowed it down in the half-mile, getting that fraction in 59 1/5 seconds.
As they neared three-quarters, although his rivals made solid moves, Obrigado began to pull away. He was in front by two at the top of the stretch, and coasted under the wire three lengths clear. The final time was 1:57.0.
Obrigado’s best year was 2016. That year, he won seven major stakes for older trotters, concluding his season with a win in the TVG Final at the Meadowlands. Last year, as a 10-year-old, he won seven times from 22 starts, while earning more than $85,000. He’s owned by Paul Kelley, SRF Stable, and Linwood Higgins, and trained by Paul Kelley. 
Three races later, Alexa Skye sought a repeat win in the Fillies & Mares Preferred Handicap pace. The week prior, she rallied from behind to win at 6/1. Bettors thought she would do it again, sending her off as the 6/5 favorite.
As expected, Jack Pelling took her well off the pace, rating behind a quarter of 27 4/5 seconds, and a half-mile in 58 seconds. Nearing three-quarters, she remained in last, and it looked as if she’d have to make another big comeback if she wanted her second win in a row.
Turning for home, her rivals were stacked across the track. Jack had no choice but to send her six-wide on the final turn. Despite losing so much ground, she was able to sustain her strong rally, and she surged to victory by half a length, stopping the clock in 1:55.4.
Alexa Skye has now won four races in a row, and six of her last eight. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this newly-turned 4-year-old have a very successful campaign this year. She’s trained by Brett Pelling, and owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock and John Lengacher.