Divine Art eyeing a Sweet Sixteen party

While there were a few anxious moments, Divine Art delivered when it counted to record her 15th straight victory here last weekend.

The 4-year-old pacing mare arrived on the scene from Canada late last year with an even dozen in a row on her resume and has added another trio for her new owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo.

Sent off at 50 cents on the dollar while stepping up to the Open ranks for her most recent tour, Divine Art left smartly to the lead from her rail slot but was overtaken by Marys Pretty Girl at the half and looked to be in a tough spot behind that tiring rival early in the stretch.

When room developed along the rail, however, Divine Art kicked had a :27 2/5 final quarter for Longo and took the measure of her hard-hitting stablemate Rockin With Lou for the three-quarters of a length score.

Longo, who is still going strong at age 77, related that he likes to watch the races up in Canada and happened to be looking for a 3 or 4-year-old pacing filly to round out his barn for this meet when he saw Divine Art doing her thing up at Century Downs.

The bay miss has certainly taken to her new surroundings and will get this week off, with her mentor eyeing the upcoming Sire Stakes to hopefully add to her nearly $250,000 bank account.

Sunday’s trotting headliner lures Rock Party

Rock Party, who has been knocking on the door in his three starts since arriving from Hoosier Park, gets the top billing in Sunday night’s $7,150 Open II Trot.

There are 13 races on tap under the Watch and Wager LLC banner and the action gets under way at 4:55 p.m.

With the last two Open winners Pridecrest and Silverhill Volo sitting out this week’s action, Rock Party should get his chance to shine for owner Chupp Racing Stable Inc, trainer Bob Johnson and pilot Luke Plano.

A 6-year-old son of Cantab Hall, Rock Party kicked off the meet with a runner-up finish behind Pridecrest in the December 11 Joe Lighthill, then once again completed the exacta behind that rival in the Open Trot the following week after doing the work up front.

Sent off the 2-1 second choice in last week’s Open, the gelding was well back early, attempted a three-wide move turning for home and had to settle for a minor award behind a strong pace-setting Silverhill Volo.

Mandeville is an 11-year-old gamester who has gone many huge miles over this layout and he deserves plenty of respect for his owner/driver/trainer Gerry Longo. He has 51 wins on his ledger and over $425,000 in the bank.

Taking them on are Adagio De La Tour with Elson Miller; Dylan The Great, Brad Irvine; Daytona Dreamin with Mooney Svendsen and Swan Country, to be guided by James Kennedy.

Silverhill Volo, Lackey team for another snapshot

Silverhill Volo and Chip Lackey are certainly not acting their age these days.

Silverhill Volo, a spry 12-year-old, is coming off a coast-to-coast victory in last week’s Open Trot for his owner/trainer/driver Lackey, who at age 70 is making more than his share of winner’s circle visits at this meet.

In last week’s top dance for the trotting set, Lackey sent Silverhill Volo right to the top and took complete control of things as they arrived two and a half lengths to the good for his 37th trip to the charmed enclousre.

“He likes when the track is something other than fast, which was the case the other night,” Lackey noted. “It gives him an edge over the horses trying to catch him.”

Chip purchased the son of Muscle Hill when he was racing in Chicago for Joe Anderson, and he’s earned a little over $150,000 in the interim while turning in a number of big miles over this layout.

“This horse has a strong pedigree,” his mentor noted. “He’s by a Hambletonian winner and his dam won the Hambletonian Oaks. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

“When I first got him he had all the bells and whistles that go with a trotter – the hobbles, the shoes, the pads – but as he’s gotten older it’s to the point where we’ve been able to race him without much of anything and it’s kind of freed him up.

“I also want to make sure to give a lot of credit to Fern Wald, who puts her heart and soul into taking care of this horse.”