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Obrigado Repeats, Fusco Series Begins at Freehold

Even in a more advanced age, Obrigado’s class continues to shine through. He won the Preferred Handicap trot at Freehold Raceway on Friday (January 8) for the second week in a row.
Despite the assignment of the outside post position seven, bettors pounded Obrigado down to 1/5 favoritism. Driver Dan Dube had no problem getting him to the lead, clearing to the front just before the opening quarter. He set comfortable early fractions, going the opening quarter in 28.2 seconds and the half in 58.2 seconds.
As they moved towards three-quarters, the moves of his rivals began to fall flat, and Obrigado continued to cruise on the lead. Pocket-sitting Dot Dot Dot Dash made a move at the top of the stretch, but Obrigado held her off, and cruised under the line three lengths in front. The final time was 1:56.3. 
Obrigado improved to 2-for-2 in 2021 with this win, and maintained his perfect career record at Freehold. In his career, he’s won 54 times from 119 starts, with earnings above $1.9 million. Paul Kelley is the winning trainer; he also co-owns with SRF Stables and Linwood Higgins.
Friday’s Freehold card also saw the beginning of the Vinny Fusco Jr Memorial Pacing Series, for NJ sired, owned, or foaled fillies and mares. The first division, for horses with a TrackMaster Horse rating between 68.00 and 71.50,  was conducted as one race, with eight entries. The second division, for horses with a TrackMaster rating between 71.50 and 75.00, was split further into two races, with seven starters apiece.
Tall Poppy N, for trainer Kelvin Harrison, and Always B Lucy, trained by Kelly Hastings, won their respective races in the first division. Southwind Tsunami, for trainer Mark Capone, won the first leg of her division. 
Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday, with a 13-race card beginning at 12:30 PM. There will be a carryover in tomorrow’s early pick 4, worth $2,878.