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Fusco Series Begins, Obrigado Returns at Freehold

Twenty-four New Jersey-owned, sired, or foaled pacing fillies and mares will take center stage at Freehold Raceway on Friday (January 8), as the Vinny Fusco Jr. Memorial Pacing Series begins.
The series was split up into two divisions. The second division, for horses with a TrackMaster Horse Rating between 71.50 and 75.00, attracted fifteen entries, and was split up into two races. They will be run as races two and four on the twelve-race card.
The first division is for horses with a TrackMaster Horse Rating between 68.00 and 71.50, and will be run as one race with a nine-horse field. That will be run as the tenth race on the program.
Fusco’s family is well-represented in the series. His brother, Paul, has four entries. He’ll send out AP Emily’s Dance, from post five, and Maggnifispin, from post eight, in the first division. In the higher division, he’ll have Fear My Shadow in the first split, from post position four, and Classy Chapel N in the second split, leaving from post three. Vinny’s nephew, Robert Ginsburg Jr, has Fashion Writer in the first division; she drew post nine.
The Friday card also features another renewal of the Preferred Handicap trot. It attracted a field of seven, and was scheduled as the sixth race on the card.
Obrigado looms large as the one to beat. He made his 11-year-old debut a winning one in last week’s Preferred, crushing the field by three-lengths in a gate-to-wire style. He’ll look for a repeat effort from post seven, for trainer Paul Kelley and driver Dan Dube.
In Secret is perhaps his toughest rival. He ships down from Flamboro Downs, where he was second against open company in each of his last two races. He’s enjoyed great success in the past. In 2017, he won the Open Handicap trot at Yonkers Raceway four times in a row, and earned a spot in that year’s International Trot, where he finished eighth. In 2018, he finished second in the Charlie Hill Trot at Scioto Downs.
On Friday, he’ll go from post position six, for new trainer Michael Hall.
The first of twelve races at Freehold on Friday will be at 12:30 PM.