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Christmas came early for Ahle who won five at Freehold

Christmas came early this year for Johnathan Ahle and the owners and trainers whom he drove for on Saturday (Dec. 23) at Freehold Raceway. He won five of his ten drives on the card.

Ahle made it look easy in race three where he steered 4-1 Ideal Suspect from the rail and led the way twice around the half-mile oval without facing any challengers. The pair completed the mile in 1:57.0 for owner/trainer Dominik Miga.

In race four, Ahle piloted Sneak On Bye at 5-2 for trainer Jared Cooper. They settled in fifth on the rail early on. Just before the field reached the half in :58.0, Ahle pulled his horse to the second-over position. By the time the field reached the three-quarter pole in 1:27.2, Ahle decided to go three-wide, then proceeded to “sneak on by” the rest of the field to cross the wire first in 1:57.3.

Ahle continued his win-streak in race five behind the even-money favorite, Fireball, from post seven. After spending the first turn parked out, Ahle found a spot fourth on the rail. The pack reached the quarter in :28.4 then after the second turn, Ahle pulled and charged forward from the first-over position. He faced the leader, Tyler Miller and Let’s Foal Around, who were not going to give way to Ahle without a fight. This meant Ahle was left parked passed the half (:59.0) and the three-quarter (1:28.2). But it did not matter, as he rallied some late pace to pass them, pacing the fastest last quarter of the race in :29.2. They paced the mile in 1:57.4. Dan Morrisey was the winning trainer, Scott Rubman the winning owner.

A win from post seven is impressive enough; it happens just 5.7% of the time at Freehold Raceway. But back-to-back wins from post seven is even more impressive.  John Ahle accomplished just that and more in race six, the cherry on top was that it was also his fourth win in a row. In the first turn, he was able to find a spot fifth on the rail with the Ken Tisa owned and trained My Boy Jack. He pulled first-over coming out of the second turn and went on to battle the leader, the 3-5 favorite, Vel Big Bruiser driven by Mark Herschberger. Ahle didn’t clear them until they reached the stretch but his mount had enough pace left to win in 1:57.3, three lengths ahead of the next finisher.

Though that was the end of the streak, it was not the last time Freehold fans saw Ahle in the winner’s circle that day. In race nine he captured the feature race, the preferred handicap, with 3-2 favorite Yo A J for Kathleen LaMontagne.  After leaving from post four and battling three-wide in the first turn, Ahle and Yo A J managed to clear to the lead on the rail just as they reached the quarter in :27.3. He continued to lead the way, passing the half in :57.2 and the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, they pulled away from the field, crossing the wire in 1:54.0 and winning by 3-¼ lengths. Ahle says “A J always gives 100%. He really is a lot of fun to drive.”

Today’s performance just put Ahle passed the 300 mark for wins on the year, now at 304. He also has 12 drives tonight at the Meadowlands; he says “I think I have some shots to do well tonight. We’ll try to keep things rolling and have some fun.” Ahle is also just a few thousand dollars shy of reaching $3,000,000 in earnings for the year, which he should easily be able to achieve. These certainly contribute to an impressive resume for the 26-year-old driver. When asked about his successful day at Freehold Raceway he humbly said, “I just had a lot of horses in good spots today and the trips worked out.”

Freehold Raceway will host two more days of racing in 2023, next Friday and Saturday starting 12:30pm.