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Grand Circuit Rolls Into Lexington

Published: October 2, 2020 5:08 pm ET

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With just one blemish in her eight-race resume, Test Of Faith cruised to her sixth consecutive victory when winning the first of two divisions of the $268,000 Artspeak Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Pace — sponsored by the Artspeak Syndicate and Winbak Farm — at The Red Mile as Grand Circuit action rolled into Lexington on Friday (Oct. 2).

Marsala Hanover hustled for the lead from Post 8 and took the field by the opening quarter in :28. Test Of Faith landed in fourth moving to the first turn and started to edge off the pylons while Marsala Hanover sped to a :55.4 half. Into the far turn, Test Of Faith committed to race first over and inched towards the pacesetter heading to three-quarters in 1:24. Marsala Hanover clung to a diminishing lead in the stretch as Test Of Faith charged to her side and then right on by to win in a lifetime-best 1:50.3. JK Alwaysbalady closed from second over for third with Lady Midnight taking fourth.

“We really think she’s a special filly,” said Ken Jackson of Kentuckiana Horse Farms. “When Melvin [Segal] bought this one, Brett [Pelling] loved her and we decided we’d come in with him and he was generous enough to let us in. When we started going to New York, Brett was pretty adamant that we had the best two-year-old pacing filly in the country and definitely in New York. And maybe it’s truly the case.”

An Art Major filly out of the Cams Card Shark mare Cannae Cammie, Test Of Faith has banked $434,500 for owners Melvin Segal, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran. Brett Pelling conditions the Fred Hertrich III-bred filly while David Miller sat in the sulky. She paid $2.40 to win.

Fire Start Hanover fired from the pocket at the top of the stretch and strode in hand to a 1:50.4 victory in the second division of the Artspeak.

Clearing command by a :28.2 opening quarter, Fire Start Hanover yielded the lead moving up the backside to 7-5 favourite Blue Diamond Eyes, who crossed over to the top past a :56.1 half. Making Waves angled first over rolling to the final turn and gained ground on Blue Diamond Eyes to three-quarters in 1:23.4, but Fire Start Hanover had enough room at the top of the stretch to peer out of her seat. The Richard “Nifty” Norman trainee powered to the lead entering the final eighth and strolled to the finish under wraps over Blue Diamond Eyes. Lindy At The Beach finished third with Making Waves taking fourth.

“I know nothing about training a horse -- I only watch -- but she’s done really well the last month,” co-owner Marlys Pinske said after the race. “We love The Red Mile. We’ve come to The Red Mile for probably 40 years; we’re always here.”

Co-owned by the Pinske Stables with David Hoese and Lawrence Means, Fire Start Hanover won her fifth race from eight starts, earning $145,836. Dexter Dunn drove the Hanover Shoe Farms-bred Somebeachsomewhere filly who paid $9.60 to win.

Dancinginthedark M looped to the top through slow fractions and accelerated under minimal encouragement to a 1:52.2 victory in the first division of the $316,300 Muscle Hill Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, sponsored by Southwind Farms.

Cuatro De Julio cleared control to the first turn with Magical Muscle Man securing the pocket and Dacinginthedark M floating into third. By the first quarter in :28.3, Cuatro De Julio kept the tempo tepid heading to a :57.1 half, prompting driver Tim Tetrick to slide Dancinginthedark M off the pylons and towards the lead.

Dancinginthedark M cruised around the final turn to three-quarters in 1:25.2 as Cuatro De Julio readied to pull pocket for the stretch drive. However Cuatro De Julio stalled through the stretch as Dancinginthedark M strode to the finish in hand. Southwind Tyrion ripped down the center of the course to take third with 8-5 favourite Arnold N Dicky settling for fourth.

“He’s always had tons of ability,” Tetrick said after the race. “His mind will once in awhile take over his gait and he kind of overtries to trot himself and he’ll make a mistake. Today we sent him in pretty good, but he was starting to get aggressive and we had to make a move. We’ve been trying to teach him to race the right way. I was just trying to let him have a good day over this beautiful dirt and hopefully he likes it, and next time he’ll come back and remember that and be happier for it.”

Bred and owned by Menhammar Stuteri Ab, Dancinginthedark M collected his third win from six starts, earning $91,961. Marcus Melander trains the Readly Express colt who paid $7.80 to win.

With 1-5 favorite In Range out of contention through slow fractions, Take All Comers ranged first over to nail Fly Light at the finish of a 1:52.3 mile in the second division of the Muscle Hill.

Johan Palema powered to the front with stablemate Fly Light settling into a loose pocket. Take All Comers sat third to a :28 first quarter with Moonstone US racing fourth and the favoured In Range fifth.

With a field stacked single file behind him to a :56.3 half, Johan Palema continued unchallenged to the far turn as Take All Comers edged first over with Moonstone US and In Range in tow to three-quarters. Johan Palema clipped three-quarters in 1:25 but shortened stride in the stretch. Fly Light lunged from the pocket to contest for the lead while Take All Comers continued to press on the outside. The pair sprinted to the finish but Take All Comers put a head in front and kept Fly Light at bay to break his maiden in his seventh start. Moonstone US finished third while his stablemate, In Range, finished sixth.

“My theory is, especially with trotters, if they’re messing up because they’ve got other things on their mind, you’re better off gelding them if you want them to win here in Kentucky and in October,” trainer Jim Campbell said of the freshly-gelded son of Creatine after the race. “And this colt, he was like that. He wasn’t a mean horse, but he was a big horse and just had other things on his mind and as soon as we gelded him it just turned a corner for him.

“Before he got on him, he said ‘I’m looking forward to racing him today,’” Campbell said of his pre-card conversation with David Miller. “Dave only drove him one time [at The Meadows]. He’s a horse that’s big but has speed, and I think the five-eighths tracks just kind of hindered him a little bit. We got a chance to see what he can do on a big track today.”

Take All Comers (Creatine - Nantab) picked up his first career win in seven starts for owner and co-breeder Runthetable Stables of Montvale, N.J. The win lifts his bankroll to $121,932.

The aptly-named Delayed Hanover took command, yielded for the pocket then retook command to maintain a firm lead through the stretch and finish of a 1:53.4 mile in the final Muscle Hill division.

Sweeping to the lead from post 3, Delayed Hanover let Jack Fire clear the top past a :28.1 opening quarter. Sonofamistery raced third into the backstretch and started to pull off the pylons, but lost stride in tight quarters as Delayed Hanover vacated pocket and circled to the lead. From there, trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt controlled the tempo to a :57.2 half and to three-quarters in 1:27.1 before speeding the Southwind Frank colt to the finish to cap the mile with a :26.3 final quarter. Jack Fire held second while Locatelli took third and Swingforthefences finished fourth.

“He trained as good as the best horses in the whole spring,” Svanstedt said after the race. “I expect a lot out of this horse. Southwind Frank can be a good stud. He had a good pedigree and was a very good horse. This horse is a good-looking horse also.”

Owned by Mellby Gard Inc. and Ake Svanstedt Inc., Delayed Hanover won his first race from three starts, earning $60,800. The Hanover Shoe Farms-bred colt, who began his career late due to sustaining an injury in the paddock earlier this year, paid $5.20 to win.

Grand Circuit competition resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday (Oct. 3). There are three divisions of the $359,300 Stay Hungry Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace and four divisions of the $349,000 Norman Woolworth Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Trot. The card of harness racing gets underway at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

(Red Mile)

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