Temperatures were back up in the 70s on Thursday afternoon at The Red Mile in downtown Lexington, as 39 freshman colt trotters went postward in five divisions of the $422,000 Bluegrass Series.
The first $84,600 division was taken by Shaq Is Back, as trainer-driver Ray Schnittker parlayed a perfect pocket trip after leaving from post seven into a half length score in a lifetime best, 1:55.3. Jetblue Volo (Andy Miller) was a game first over and had to settle for second, while the 3-5 favourite, Senor Glide (Daniel Dube), rallied from seventh to pick up the show spot, two and a half lengths behind the winner.
Shaq Is Back - nigelsoultphoto.com
The victorious son of Credit Winner-Vivica Hall was a $30,000 yearling purchase and is owned by the Givemethecredit Stable. This afternoon’s win was his fifth in ten starts this season, and pushed his earnings to over $199,000.
The second $83,600 division included a heavy 1-5 favourite in Il Villaggio (Tim Tetrick), as the son of Yankee Glide-Dance to Market had won five of six and $422,721 coming in.
Tetrick did not take any chances with the favourite as he darted to the front as the field straightened out up the backstretch and coasted through a half mile in 57.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.3, before drawing clear by five and a quarter lengths on the wire in 1:56.4 for his sixth consecutive victory.
A pair of longshots rounded out the trifecta after the 3-1 second choice Muscle Massive (John Campbell) made a break early in the mile, with 21-1 Hes Spooky (Mike Lachance) finishing second and 36-1 Keystone Bernard (Ron Pierce) five and a half lengths back in third.
Il Villaggio - nigelsoultphoto.com
Il Villaggio was a $100,000 yearling purchase and is trained by Erv Miller for the Brittany Farms, Blue Chip Bloodstock, and the Il Villaggio Partners.
The third $84,600 Bluegrass split featured a 7-5 favourite in Holiday Road (Brian Sears), but the Peter Haughton Memorial champion would prove to be a non-factor as he made a break midway up the backstretch which left the race wide open.
Plan B In HD (Thomas Haughton) fired out from the two hole to take command of the field and cut out solid fractions of 27.4, 56, and 1:26.1, before turning for home with a length advantage. However, the taxing fractions would prove to be too much as Wishing Stone used a perfect second-over steer from driver John Campbell to tip three-wide down the lane and draw off from his rivals to a five length win in 1:55, which was a lifetime mark and the fastest division of the afternoon.
Plan B In HD was able to hold on for the place spot, while Big Stick Lindy (Ray Schnittker) saved ground all the way to hold on for third, seven lengths behind the winner.
Wishing Stone - nigelsoultphoto.com
The winning son of Conway Hall-Meadowbranch Magic was a $63,000 yearling purchase and is trained by Dewayne Minor for the Cowboyland Aalborg.
The fourth $84,600 division of the Bluegrass Series for freshman colt trotters appeared to be the most wide-open affair on paper, and the results did not prove any differently as trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer used a furious stretch rally with Priority Photo, coming from sixth at the three-quarters, to get by the entire field for a one and three-quarter length win in 1:57.4 in only his second career start.
The 4-5 favourite Sailaway Dream (Tim Tetrick) moved to the lead after the quarter and was able to hold second, while Chimon (Marcus Johansson) used a pocket trip to pick up third, four and a quarter lengths behind the winner.
Priority Photo - nigelsoultphoto.com
Smedshammer noted in the winner’s circle that he “just wanted to see what the colt could do” and that “this (The Red Mile) was a great place for green horses.”
A winner of only $960 in his prior career start, the $45,000 yearling and son of Classic Photo-Shes A Priority got owners Theodore Gewertz, Robert Feldman, and the American Viking Racing Stable, nearly back their initial investment with the $42,300 winner’s share.
The fifth and final $84,600 division featured a prohibitive 1-5 favourite in Lucky Chucky (John Campbell), and the son of Windsongs Legacy-Aerobics did not disappoint his huge contingency of backers as he used a pocket ride from post one to get up in the final strides to post a three-quarter length score in 1:56.2.
Winning Fireworks (Ron Pierce) cut out the mile and picked up the place spot in only his second career start, while 51-1 longshot Flashback (Andy Miller) rode the cones to pick up third, three and a half lengths behind the winner.
Lucky Chucky - nigelsoultphoto.com
Lucky Chucky was only a $10,000 yearling purchase and has now won six races in seven career starts with earnings of $372,892 for trainer Chuck Sylvester who also co-owns along with Neal Goldman and Abe Stoltzfus. The colt suffered his only career loss in the $523,600 Peter Haughton Memorial final on August 8th at The Meadowlands where he finished third, and was coming into The Red Mile after winning the $450,000 Valley Victory at Harrah’s Chester on September 6th.
Racing action continues on Friday at The Red Mile with the $328,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, along with two divisions of the $203,000 Bluegrass Series for three-year old filly pacers. First post is 12:30 p.m. for the thirteen race program.
(The Red Mile)