SUMMERSIDE — Oakmont, driven by Daniel Romo, put on a burst of speed in the stretch run to capture the second $5,000 Governor’s Plate elimination at Summerside Raceway on Sunday night.
Two eliminations were held, with the top-four finishers in each moving on to Saturday’s 43rd running of the Governor’s Plate.
It looked like the race belonged to the Todd Trites-driven Joseph Michael as he took the lead off the gate and ran a blistering pace, cutting fractions in 28.2, 57.2 and 1:26.2.
But tucked in behind Joseph Michael throughout the race were Romo and Oakmont.
Oakmont caught Joseph Michael in the stretch run, crossing the wire in 1:55 – the fastest trip of the 12-dash program.
The other three qualifiers from the second elimination were Joseph Michael, owned by Capital A Investments Ltd. of New Brunswick; Serious Damage, owned by Wade Peconi of Breadalbane and Ryan MacPhee of Cornwall, and Ultimate Success, owned by Willis Silliker of Summerside.
Following the win, Romo said he was content to follow Trites, and hopefully finish in the top four to qualify for Saturday’s Governor’s Plate. But, when the opportunity presented itself, he called on Oakmont and he responded.
“I was kind of hoping to follow him (Trites) right to the wire,” Romo said. “I had a horse that would leave good.
“I had a good post (No. 2), and I had Todd on the inside. I thought he would be front-running that horse. I thought I’d sit on his back, hope to finish in the top four and make the final for next weekend.
“At the end he came out with a kick getting home, and he raced well. I sat second all the way, there was a horse that challenged him on the outside and that took a little sting out of Todd’s horse.
“I had a perfect trip, got out when I wanted to and hope now that I draw good and get a good trip next week.”
Romo has a choice to make before the Governor’s Plate. While he trains and drives Oakmont, he also trains and drives Jepson Hanover, who qualified in the first elimination.
“I don’t know,” said Romo. “Whatever the owner wants, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Oakmont and Jepson Hanover are both owned by Paul Gray of Pugwash, N.S.
Results/entries in Monday's Guardian