12/03/2016 4:36PM

Downhill Racer overcomes shaky start, traffic trouble to take Pennsylvania Nursery

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Taylor Ejdys/Equi-Photo
Downhill Racer (right), under Alex Wolfsont, outlasts Heat Dome and Frankie Pennington by a neck in the Pennsylvania Nursery.

Horseplayers who wagered on Downhill Racer in Saturday’s $100,000 Pennsylvania Nursery had to be unhappy to hear Parx Racing announcer Keith Jones describe their horse as breaking awkwardly and “not moving very comfortably” during the opening stages of the seven-furlong sprint.

It also had to be discouraging to hear Jones say that Downhill Racer, trying to mount a bid from the outside at the quarter pole, had nowhere to go.

All the trouble didn’t matter, however, as jockey Alex Wolfsont switched Downhill Racer to the inside to find running room and the Pennsylvania-bred colt outfought the maiden Heat Dome by a neck to remain unbeaten in two starts.

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A son of Jump Start trained by Jonathan Sheppard for Buttonwood Farm, Downhill Racer ($8.40), the third choice in a field reduced to five by a pair of scratches, was making his first start since winning his career debut by 1 1/2 lengths at Penn National on Oct. 14. He completed the distance on a fast track in 1:27.04.

Heat Dome, ridden for the first time by Frankie Pennington, led by a half-length after six furlongs in 1:13.39, but could not withstand Downhill Racer’s closing surge. Heat Dome, the 5-2 second choice, has now finished second in all three career starts. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Penn National shipper Indominus Rex in third. The Gemini Man finished fourth, 11 lengths behind Indominus Rex, as the 6-5 favorite.