Fillies Dead Heat In Thrilling Courageous Lady

Ucandoit Blue Chip and Zanatta dead heat at Northfield
Published: October 14, 2023 11:55 pm EDT

Rarely do rivalries live up to the hype in horse racing. Still, on Saturday, Oct. 14, the rivalry between Jugette winner Ucandoit Blue Chip and Jugette runner-up Zanatta more than lived up to the hype as the pair scored a dead-heat victory in the $100,000 Courageous Lady Stakes at MGM Northfield Park.

Zanatta (Bongiorno) fired off the wings as the starter gave the word 'go' and cleared Cruise Alert (Jordan Stratton) into the first turn. With Bongiorno setting up shop on the front end, cruising to the quarter in :27.4, she was followed by pocket-sitting Cruise Alert and Ucandoit Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) into the far turn for the first time.

Coming to the half in a testy :55.4, Zeron sent Ucandoit Blue Chip to the outside from third, with Rec Time (Chris Page) in tow. Bongirono tried to create some separation, opening up to a three-length lead with Zanatta into the backstretch for the final time. 

Up the backstretch, the two dominant fillies hooked up and matched strides past three-quarters in 1:23.2, and the stage was set for a dynamic final quarter. Bongiorno, who had set some stiff fractions up to that point, said that he was upset he couldn't get his filly to relax throughout most of the mile. 

Turning for home, it appeared that Zanatta would upend her foe, but Ucandoit Blue Chip dug down deep and gathered up momentum late to get back on even terms, both hitting the wire in 1:52.4. It was the first time in the track's history that there had been a dead heat in a major stakes event.

"We knew that we would be first up this week, my filly [Ucandoit Blue Chip] raced really brave, and I am tickled with how she raced," said jubilant Hall of Fame trainer Linda Toscano.

Zanatta's victory pushed her career earnings to $592,493 for owner One Legend Stable and trainer Jennifer Bongiorno.

Ucandoit Blue Chip heads to the breeding shed following her victory in Saturday's Courageous Lady.

"She's been so much fun to train," said Toscano. "It's been well documented that her mother [Molly Can Do It] gave me my first Breeders Crown winner; having her come along and do what she has been a pleasure."

Ucandoit Blue Chip ended her career with $598,335 in earnings and 11 wins in 22 trips to the racetrack. She is owned by Bill Elliott of Woodstock, Ont.

Coastal upsets, Sectionline Bigry dominant in $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championships for Veteran Pacers

Coastal, who had been off her game somewhat as of late, made a big move in the third quarter and scored an upset victory in the $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championships for older mares.

Coastal (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) bided her time around the first turn, getting away in fifth as Do It Like Bobi (Tony Hall) stormed to the lead and opened up a two-length advantage. While Hall tried to ration out the speed on the front end, his mare sped to the opening quarter in :27.3 with Penpaperpaige (Tyler Smith) on her back.

Coming to the half in :55.3, Shesonebadmomma (Chris Page) stepped out of fourth with Dragons Revenge (Joe Bongiorno) on her back as Do It Like Bobbi continued to cruise on the front end.  

Into the backstretch for the final time, Do It Like Bobbi and Penpaperpaige stepped away from rivals, but as the field hit three-quarters in 1:23.3, Coastal began a four-wide rally. Gobbling up ground late, Coastal made the lead quickly, turning for home and drew off to win by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:53.2.

Owned by Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stable, Melillo, and Beasty, the Ron Burke trainee pushed her earnings to $326,503. The daughter of Big Bad John has 25 victories in 61 career starts. 

Following the victory, Wrenn Jr. said, "Ronnie [Burke] had her really good tonight. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I think she liked the trip from off the pace."

The boys took centre stage next in the $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championship for veteran pacers, with Sectionline Bigry making it three-in-a-row with a decisive 1:52.2 victory.

Sectionline Bigry (Chris Page) was able to float away into the first turn, with none of his foes leaving from the outside. While he was able to set up shop on the front end easily, he put up a stiff :27.2 opening quarter over the sloppy going.  

At the half, in a well-rated :57, Charlie May (Brett Miller), who set behind the leader, had yet to make a move and was locked in by Odds On Shaggy (Tony Hall), who began a first-over bid for the lead. Heading to three-quarters in 1:24.3, Sectionline Bigry put away Odds On Shaggy, who started to back pedal around the far turn. Risenshine Seaside (Wrenn Jr.) flipped off cover three-wide, and Charlie May popped out of the pocket, turning for home, all trying to take a shot at the leader, but through the stretch, Sectionline Bigry was kept to task winning by 1-1/4 lengths.

Owner Harold Bauder recently watched the son of Pet Rock become harness racing's newest millionaire in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware.

"He's just awesome," said a happy Bauder. "Chris [Page] is a friend of mine. Brett chose to drive Charley May, and he [Page was a great fill-in.

It was the 50th career milestone victory for Sectionline Bigry, who now has $1,059,457 in the bank.

Martysmagicmoment upsets, Smoking Jet scores in $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for Older Trotters

Trainer Danny Collins entered Saturday's $85,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championships for older trotting mares looking for redemption after making a miscue in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware. He did just that, scoring in gate-to-wire fashion on Saturday.

Martysmagicmoment (Tony Hall) was put into play early, clearing rival Twentyfour K Magic (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) mid-way around the first turn. Hall quickly opened up a three-length lead on the field but paid the price to do so with a strong :27 opening fraction.

Approaching the half, Hall tried to get a breather, but heavy favourite Refined (Tyler Smith) was breathing down her neck, with the pair getting to the half in :56.1. With three-eighths of a mile to trot, Refined got rough and jumped off stride, completely turning the race on its head.  

The miscue allowed Martysmagicmoment to step away to a three-length lead into the backstretch. Heading to three-quarters in 1:25.1, Sandis Commando L (Hank Le Van) made a three-wide sweeping move to make her way into second, with Herculisa (Brett Miller) revving up after breaking before the start into the final turn. Through the stretch, Martysmagicmoment held off a charging Herculisa to win by a half-length in 1:56.2.

The homebred mare by Creatine is owned by Marty McLain, Charles McLain and Harry Burger, and is trained by Danny Collins. The four-year-old now has 11 victories in 45 starts, with $282,640 earned in her career.

In the counterpart Ohio Sire Stakes Championship for older male trotters, Smoking Jet took the lead at the half and never looked back.

After a sluggish beginning from Bamboo (Drew Neill), who had the rail, Joggingtothebank (Brett Miller), Smoking Jet (Chris Page), and I Know My Chip (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) were battling it out three-wide around the first turn. They sorted themselves out into the backstretch with Smoking Jet clearing for a moment, but I Know My Chip was right there and took the lead before the :28 opening fraction.

Page was not content to sit in the pocket with Smoking Jet; he tipped the son of Triumphant Caviar to the outside and re-took before a half in a well-rated :57.2. Caviar Gold (Aaron Merriman) was the first to try to take on the leader, the pair wrestled to three-quarters in 1:26.2 where Caviar Gold began to waiver, so Merriman put him in the pocket to try to save some ground.  

Through the stretch, Merriman asked Caviar Gold for more, but he didn't have it as Smoking Jet drew clear, winning by two lengths in 1:56.1. Rose Run Valor (Kayne Kauffman) rallied from off the pace to be second, with Caviar Gold just hanging on for third. 

It was the 35th lifetime victory for the six-year-old son of Triumphant Caviar who Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Chris Page own. Smoking Jet pushed his earnings to $567,022 with the victory.

Saturday’s stakes action was tricky for Pick-5 bettors as the sequence went unsolved, setting up an opportunity for a sizeable pool on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Beginning in race six, the Pick-5 features a two-day carryover of $12,148 and is estimated to have $75,000 in the pool when all is said and done. The Pick-5 features a $1 minimum investment and a low 14 per cent takeout.

Post time for the 15-race program on Sunday is 6 p.m. 

(Northfield Park)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.