06/01/2013 6:59PM

Penn National: Easter Gift takes Mountainview Handicap to reaffirm fondness for Pennsylvania tracks

Barbara D. Livingston
Easter Gift, ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, scoresby 2 1/4 lengths in the Mountainview Handicap.

Good things happen for Easter Gift when he travels to Pennsylvania.

The first stakes wins of the 4-year-old Easter Gift’s career came when he shipped to Parx and won the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes last September, and on Saturday evening, a trip to Penn National produced a 2 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap.

Easter Gift, owned by Robert LaPenta and trained for his last four starts by Chad Brown, won his third straight race. The second win in that string – no surprise – came in another excursion to Parx.

Easter Gift ($9.40) got a clean outside run under Kendrick Carmouche, racing fifth in a field tightly bunched pack because of the slow pace (24.82 seconds, 49.14. 1:13.03) set by Rattlesnake Bridge along the inside and Pants On Fire in the two path. Rattlesnake Bridge nevertheless threw in the towel at the top of the stretch, with stalking Norman Asbjornson rolling up to take the lead, but by then Carmouche had Easter Gift in full stride on the far outside, and he quickly pounced, passing Norman Asbjornson, running on to a decisive victory in 1:49.96 for 1 1/8 miles. Norman Asbjornson finished second, Pants On Fire third, and favored Macho Macho fourth. Macho Macho was last and buried on the rail most of the trip, getting shuffled beyond hope when Adirondack King backed up in front of him on the far turn.