06/30/2016 4:22PM

Pocono: Racing Hill earning attention for Hempt Final

Derick Giwner
Racing Hill is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday Hempt Final.

Trainer Tony Alagna thought Racing Hill came into this year flying under the radar, but the colt is getting his share of attention now following a second-place finish in the North America Cup and a win in his Max C. Hempt Memorial elimination last weekend at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Racing Hill is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $500,000 Hempt final. The event, for 3-year-old pacers, is part of Pocono’s Sun Stakes Saturday card that also features the Ben Franklin for older pacers, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters.

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A homebred colt for owner Tom Hill, Racing Hill has won six of 15 career races and earned $333,666. He won his Hempt elimination by three lengths over Katies Rocker in 1:49 1/5, which is the fastest mile of the season by a 3-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track.

Racing Hill will start the Hempt final from post No. 2 with regular driver Brett Miller.

“He came out of his elimination good and trained back good (Wednesday),” Alagna said. “It’s a competitive field of horses so we’ll see how it works out. A lot of the horses that drew outside are speed horses so I think there is going to be plenty of activity.

“As long as I bring the horse there in good shape, I’ll let Brett do the rest.”

Last year, Racing Hill won five of 10 starts, including divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes as well as his elimination for the Breeders Crown. He finished eighth in the Breeders Crown final, but was only 5-3/4 lengths back after a first-over bid around the final turn on a “good” track at Woodbine.

“He kind of got a messed up trip in the Breeders Crown otherwise I think he would have done better,” Alagna said. “He had some really good races last year and kind of flew under the radar coming back this year for no real reason. He’s a quality horse and he’s showing that now.”

Racing Hill began this year with a nose loss to 4-year-old Major War in 1:49 2/5 at the Meadowlands. In his next start, he was second to War-N-Munn in a conditioned race at Mohawk despite a 25 4/5 final quarter-mile. Then he finished third from post nine in his North America Cup elimination despite going off stride briefly in the stretch.

“I’ve always liked the horse,” Alagna said about Racing Hill, who is a son of Roll With Joe out of the mare Chasing Ideals. “He raced good last week and hopefully we have similar luck this week.”

Control The Moment, who was voted Canada’s top 2-year-old male pacer last year, won the remaining Hempt elimination and will start the final from post No. 8 with Randy Waples driving for trainer Brad Maxwell. Control The Moment, who captured his elim by a half-length over Boston Red Rocks in 1:49 3/5, is 7-2 on the morning line.

New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Katies Rocker is 4-1 and Boston Red Rocks, who received the U.S.-based Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer last season, is 5-1.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com