Swans Eye had the finish line in her sights Sunday, May 21 at Tioga Downs in the $11,000 Open II. The Indiana sired mare scored the win in 1:53.3 with Jim Taggart Jr. in the bike.
Swans Eye started from post two and settled in third as Dagon Hanover and Michael Merton rallied out to the lead and were joined by Believer and Ridge Warren on the outside. Dagon Hanover kept Believer on the outside past the quarter in :27.3 before the race favorite was able to clear to the lead. The same lineup continued through the half in :56.3 before Swans Eye made a move, moving up to the leaders at the three-quarters in 1:24.4.
Swans Eye was gaining ground with every stride around the final turn and finally had the lead at the top of the stretch. When the mare straightened up, she flew down the lane in :28.4 to draw away for the win. Believer finished two and one-half lengths back in second followed by Dagon Hanover.
Swans Eye paid $8.90 for the win. The Swan for All mare is owned by Rocco Fava and trained by Richard Campolong. Devon Schrock is the breeder on the trotting mare, who took a new lifetime mark in the race.
Swans Eye began at Harrah’s Hoosier Park as a two-year-old under the direction of Roger Welch and made the Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final. She came back at three and won six races and once again made the Super Final in the Sires Stakes program. At the conclusion of her year last fall, she was sold to her current connections. Her win at Tioga was her first start at the upstate New York venue and her first win for her new connections.
Ryan Harrington, a local 14-year-old racing enthusiast, was the guest announcer for the race. Harrington stepped in for Tioga Track Announcer Andrew “Shades” Demsky for the race and was shown in an insert box on the screen as he provided the race call. Demsky has been the track announcer at Tioga for the past three years. He rose to fame during a stint at Tampa Bay Downs when he wore white sunglasses during his commentary from the paddock and picked up the nickname “shades” during his time in Florida before also working in similar positions at Canterbury Park and Presque Isle Downs before moving to Tioga.
Earlier in the card at Tioga, another Indiana sired trotter made his way to the winner’s circle in the $10,500 conditioned trot. Secret or Not and Michael Merton got away third before moving first up at the three-quarters and going to work. Down the stretch, he battled with BJ Lorado and Aaron Byron to overtake him and was able to get by in the final strides, winning in 1:56.3. BJ Lorado finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second over Pine Bush Rose and Frederick Bourgault for third.
Secret or Not paid $3.20 for the win. He is owned by Greg Gardner and was bred by Libby Myers. The Musclesprinctonian gelding is trained by Todd Buter. He equaled his career best time in the effort and now has 18 career wins with nearly $150,000 in earnings.