Its Academic Remains Sharp In Bluegrass

Off a world record set in Delaware, OH, Its Academic powered to the lead, settled for the pocket and surged for the lead late to take the first of three divisions of the $211,700 Greenshoe Bluegrass Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot — sponsored by the Greenshoe Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farm — in 1:50.3 on Sunday (Oct. 4) at the Red Mile.

Its Academic, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass Stakes.

Driver Chris Page pushed Its Academic for the front from Post 7 with E L Ideal also leaving to his inside. E L Ideal crossed to the cones and parked Its Academic by a :27.1 first quarter before letting the Uncle Peter colt clear command, but soon circled from second to the top heading to a :54.4 half.

Beads, the 1-5 favourite, edged first over moving to the far turn and made slight gains to three quarters in 1:23, but began to gallop into the stretch. E L Ideal held a slimming lead into the stretch as Its Academic angled out and bore down on the pacesetter, eventually sliding by to win by one and a quarter lengths. King Alphonso finished third with Maesteraemon fourth.

Returning $22.20 to win, Its Academic competes for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, W. J. Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables. The GBW Breeding Farms-bred colt collected his fifth win from 11 starts this season and his 11th from 21 overall, earning $339,784.

Back Of The Neck, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass Stakes.

Even-money choice Back Of The Neck zipped past even-money choice Amigo Volo to score in the second division of 'the Greenshoe.'

Amigo Volo brushed to the front past a :27.4 first quarter and softened the clip up the backstretch with the field single file to a :56.1 half. Capricornus — under a tight hold — rushed first over into the far turn to match strides with Amigo Volo by three quarters in 1:25.3, but lost ground as Amigo Volo accelerated into the stretch. Room opened for Back Of The Neck to tip wide from second, and the Ready Cash colt gathered momentum before pushing past Amigo Volo into the final sixteenth and strolling to a 1:51.3 victory. Patriarch Hanover rallied for third with Third Shift finishing fourth.

“[Svanstedt] tried pulling all four shoes on him today,” winning driver Scott Zeron after the race. “[Svanstedt] told me — even in the post parade — said 'he sounds great, he’ll be good.' I feel like right now he’s better — that was off of a layoff, so I’m only thinking he’s going to get better and better. [Svanstedt] thinks he’s the best horse in his barn, and he was right.”

Owned by breeder Order By Stable and co-owners Howard and Judith Taylor, Back Of The Neck won his third race from seven starts this season and his sixth from 16 overall, earning $441,270. Ake Svanstedt trains the $4.20 winner.

Gangster Hanover, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass Stakes.

Svanstedt trainees hit the track in the final division of the Greenshoe to snag three of the top four spots at the finish of a 1:52.3 mile, with 5-2 third choice Gangster Hanover holding on for victory.

Hollywood Story hurried from Post 4 to the lead while Jula Trix Treasure parked from Post 8 in pursuit of the front. Past a :27.4 first quarter, Jula Trix Treasure took the lead. Stonefire US slid off the pylons from last moving up the backstretch and rolled outside before catching cover from Gangster Hanover by a :56.1 half.

Gangster Hanover charged up to his stablemate’s neck into the final turn and hustled to the lead by three quarters in 1:25.1, gaining separation on the field into the stretch. Though the backfield began to rally, with Jula Trix Treasure fanning wide to give chase to Gangster Hanover but settle for second. Sermon slid up the inside for third while Coventry Hall, also trained by Svanstedt, finished fourth.

Bred and co-owned by Brittany Farms along with partners Ake Svanstedt and S R F Stable, Gangster Hanover won his second race from five starts this season and his fifth from 11 overall, earning $239,223. Svanstedt drove the $7.40 winner.

Grand Circuit competition resumes at the Red Mile on Friday (Oct. 9) with the International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and two-year-old pacing fillies. First-race post time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

(Red Mile)