Money Lender and Happy Tree both turned in the fastest winning time of 1:56 1/5 in taking their divisions of the $500,100 Potomac Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts at Freestate last night. The third division carried a purse of $84,600 and five other divisions went for $83,100.
The first division turned into a two-horse race between favorite Scoot Herb and Money Lender, with Money Lender ($9.40) holding on to win.
Scoot Herb, driven by Michel Lachance, harness racing's winningest driver the past three years, held on for second, one length back.
In the second division, Happy Tree and driver Pete Ruscitto charged down the stretch to catch favorite Wealthy Skipper at the wire.
Going into the stretch with a 3 1/2 length lead over Nukes Lobell, trainer-driver Jim Brittingham appeared to have the race won with Wealthy Skipper. But the colt began to slow after a fast 1:26 1/5 three-quarters and finally lost to Happy Tree ($18.20) by a neck.
The upset of the night occurred in the final division when 1-to-10 race favorite Big Eyes tired in the stretch to finish a head behind Hamlet Lobell ($21.80) and Silverman.
In the third division, Only Mine ($43), driven by Tommy Haughton, won a photo finish over Barbaras Prince in 1:57 2/5.
In the fourth division, Pied Piper ($3) gave Hall of Fame trainer Stanley Dancer a happy 60th birthday present with a victory in 1:57 4/5.
Barstow Hanover ($3) and driver Doug Snyder took the fifth division in 1:57. Vintner and Richard Silverman were second 1 1/2 lengths back.
Barstow Hanover and Pied Piper split a $50,000 bonus for also winning divisions of the Hanover Colts Stakes last week at Freestate.