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Ahle and Siegelman take command of Freehold’s Saturday Card

John Ahle and Austin Siegelman left little opportunity for any other driver to score on the 12-race card at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (Jan. 13). Between the two of them, they won nine races. Ahle had five wins, including the feature, and Siegelman was right behind him with four wins.

Siegelman was 2023’s leading driver at Freehold and has taken early command of the lead in 2024, now with 11 wins. Siegelman says, “I never imagined I’d win any driving titles, but it’s a great honor and I’m just hoping to stay happy and healthy in 2024 and do it again.”

One of Siegelman’s steers tactfully took down the hot hands from the previous afternoon, Tyler Miller, who had won three on Friday’s (Jan. 12) eleven-race card. In race eight, Siegelman sat the pocket with He’s Electric behind Miller and the even-money favorite, Just Plain Loco. In the stretch, he was able to sneak by to win by a nose and upset the favorite at 9-2. This made a training double for Mark Ford, who had teamed up with Siegelman earlier in race four to win with Buchannon Hanover.

Siegelman commented on the successful day, “I had good posts and gate speed today, both keys to success at Freehold. Made it possible to put the horses in the right spot and grab four winners.”

John Ahle should be among the top ranks of the leader board for 2024, he currently has 8 wins at Freehold this year, which puts him second behind Siegelman in the rankings. The new year is extremely young, however the current standings may be an indicator of the year to come.

26-year-old Ahle said, “I thought I had a couple good shots going into today and they all seemed to show up.” One horse that always seems to show up for Ahle was his preferred handicap pacing mount, Yo A J.

In the feature race, Ahle piloted Yo A J at 6-5 from post six for Kathleen LaMontagne. After the wings folded, it looked like Ahle considered taking a spot third on the rail but decided against it and cruised onward to overtake the early leaders instead. From there, he marched along and set the pace, setting fractions of :28.1, :58.0, and 1:27.1. He paced on without facing much pressure from his competitors. Ahle said, “A J was second last week and raced super; he just got caught at the wire off fast fractions. I thought he was the best in there today and with the soft fractions he got the job done easy.” The 5-year-old Betting Line gelding paced the mile 1:56.1.

When asked about his goals for 2024, Ahle replied, “Don’t really have any set goals. Just want to keep driving and having fun doing it.” So far in 2024, he has 8 wins and finished in the money 20 times in 53 starts. He has seven more drives tonight at the Big M.

Freehold Raceway hosts daytime harness racing every Friday and Saturday starting at 12:30pm.