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Bluegrass Mania At The Red Mile

Published: October 4, 2015 1:50 am ET

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Many of the biggest names in the game – both equine and human – were sprinkled throughout the Saturday evening program at The Red Mile, which featured a host of Bluegrass Stakes divisions for trotters and pacers.

Here’s a recap of what transpired:

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot

Mission Brief put in an effortless performance in the first of two divisions of the $144,000 Bluegrass Stake, taking the lead after the first quarter and striding away to a 1:54.4 win.

Classical Annie set the first quarter of :29.2 as Livininthefastlane edged towards the front first over, with Mission Brief on her back. Taking the lead before the three-eighths pole, Mission Brief progressed towards fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.3. Classical Annie, residing in third for most of the mile after losing the lead, circled around Livininthefastlane to take second, and Speak To Me charged down the center of the course to finish third.

Sent off the overwhelming favourite at 1-9, Mission Brief paid $2.10 to win. The filly by Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Yannick Gingras. She scored her eighth win this season, seventeenth lifetime, and has earned $1,356,062 in her career.

“Even here she’s a lot different,” Ron Burke said. “There’s not as much noise and there’s not as much action, so she’s obviously going to calm down a little bit more. The track’s obviously better than it was last night, but it’s still nowhere near fast. Basically all we wanted to do is get around there without hurting her [Mission Brief], and just get a mile in her.”

“By the same thing, the Breeders Crown is six days later,” Burke also said in regards to Mission Brief’s speed as a three-year-old compared to her 1:50.3 last season at Lexington. “Like I’ve said all along: I want to come in here, win three races, and just go home.”

“Love it,” part-owner Jerry Silva said in regards to the experience of watching Mission Brief race. “She stacks right now on the top of the list of the filly trotters that I’ve had. I hope she continues to be healthy and continues, with Ronnie [Burke] and Yannick [Gingras] making me a happy owner.”

Grinding to control uncovered around the far turn, Jimmy Takter-trainee Wild Honey patiently attacked pacesetter Im So Fancy to then edge away from her rivals and towards a 1:55.4 win. On the lead, Im So Fancy set fractions of :29, :57.4, and 1:27.1. Wild Honey generated the two-wide move at the half, with Gatka Hanover and Katniss tracking her into the turn. Approaching Im So Fancy at three-quarters, Wild Honey quickly took the lead at the head of the stretch, powering away from closers Lilu Hanover and Lady Winona, who finished second and third respectively.

Collecting her fifth win this season, fifteenth in her career, Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy, pushed her career earnings to $1,125,135. She is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, and Herb Liverman, and was driven by John Campbell. Also a resounding favourite at 1-5, she paid $2.40 to win.

“She went a great trip up in Canada [in the Elegantimage] to finish second to Mission Brief,” John Fielding said. “She was awesome tonight, and she has just been a terrific filly all along for us at two and now at three. She’s small, but she’s very gutsy, and it’s just a privilege to be associated with her.”

“I don’t know yet,” Fielding said in regards to Wild Honey entering the Kentucky Filly Futurity next week, Oct. 10. “I’ll have to talk to Jimmy Takter.”

Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot

The first of two divisions for the $220,000 Bluegrass three-year-old colt trot went to Crazy Wow off a pocket trip in 1:55.4. He took control through a :28.2 first quarter, but soon yielded to challenger and 4-5 favourite The Bank. He went on to set fractions of :57.3 and 1:27 before Crazy Wow readied to pounce out of the pocket. Once out and moving in the stretch, Crazy Wow slid up to The Bank and past him after the eighth pole, advancing to victory over the favourite, Crescent Fashion, and Classic Venture.

Owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms, trained by Ron Burke, and driven by Tim Tetrick, Crazy Wow collected the 12th win of his career, earning $977,415. The son of Crazed-No Pan No Gain paid $4.00 to win.

“Timmy [Tetrick] did a good job,” Ron Burke said. “He could’ve gotten a bad spot, but Trond [Smedshammer on Donatomite] was not leaving him [out and parked] and just held his position. He [Tetrick] got in behind Yannick and out-tripped him.”

“They [Our Horse Cents Stables, Jerry and Theresa Silva Stables, and Deo Volente Farms] bought him after his two-year-old season and, actually, he’s been a surprise,” Burke also said. “I thought he was a good horse, but he’s been a little bit better than a good horse. They’re [the owners] are going to supplement him to the [Kentucky] Futurity next week, and then they’re going to supplement him to the Breeders Crown, so he’s going to get an opportunity to prove he is the best or one of the best.”

“That [Crazy Wow supplementing] pretty much cements her into the [Kentucky] Filly Futurity,” Burke said in regards to Mission Brief racing next week. “It seems stupid to race against your own money when you’re supplementing one in, so she’ll race against the fillies and then move on to the Breeders Crown.”

Muscle Diamond defeated the 1-5 favourite Uncle Lasse in the second division of the Bluegrass, charging from the back of the field to a 1:56 victory. The pace was set by Southwind Mozart, putting up fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:27.3 before a challenge came from Uncle Lasse, who began his first-over move at the half. He edged by leader Southwind Mozart in the stretch, but was soon confronted by Muscle Diamond towards the center of the course. Uncle Lasse failed to trot with Muscle Diamond, finishing second to the 3-1 second choice. Honor And Serve was third.

Paying $8.80 to win, the Muscle Hill-Windylane Hanover colt collected the sixth win of his career, earning $502,459. He’s owned by Charles Keller III, Charles Keller IV, E. Bittle, and trainer Brett Bittle, and driven by John Campbell.

“It [the trip] worked out well. I was within striking range at the head of the stretch, and he kicked home the best he has in quite a long time,” John Campbell said.

Three-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace

Kelvin Harrison’s In The Arsenal won the first of two splits for the $185,000 Bluegrass. Sitting off a hot pace set by Paparazzi Hanover, including fractions of :27.4, :54.3, and 1:23, driver Brian Sears pulled the even-money choice off the pylons and around a tiring pocket sitter in National Seelster. Catching Paparazzi Hanover at the top of the stretch, In The Arsenal progressed to the lead with Rock N Roll World, following his move after the leader, beginning to challenge for control. However, In The Arsenal dug in to the inside of Rock N Roll World and held a half-length advantage in the end. Reggiano closed for third.

Getting the 13th win of his career and earning $885,973 in the process, the American Ideal-Ladyotra colt returned $4.00 to win. He’s owned by breeder White Birch Farms and In The Arsenal Racing, trained by Kelvin Harrison, and driven by Brian Sears.

“He raced well tonight,” Kelvin Harrison said. “Like you said [to interviewer Gabe Prewitt], he was good here last year. In the Messenger, he got it the way he likes it, and he got nailed. We had some sickness issues coming out of Tioga [in the Empire Breeders Classic], and still a little bit coming out of the Messenger, but I think we finally got him cleaned up.”

“We’ll be here next week for the Tattersalls Pace, and then hopefully everything’s good because then we’re going to the Breeders Crown,” Harrison also said.

Flushing cover as he began his bid past the half, Split The House rallied down the center of the course and by speed-maker Penji Hanover to take the second split of the Bluegrass in 1:53.1. Penji Hanover established fractions of :29.1, :57.1, and 1:25.3. Dudes The Man, flushed out by Split The House after the half, came up to challenge Penji Hanover at the top of the stretch. Penji Hanover drifted off the pylons, allowing pocket-rider Blood Brother to sprint into contention through the stretch. Off cover, Split The House managed to out sprint Blood Brother heading to the finish, doing so while besting third-place finisher Penji Hanover and fourth-place finisher Dudes The Man.

A recent purchase by owners Crawford Farms LLC and trainer Chris Oakes, the Rocknroll Hanover-Shake That Junk mare claimed the eighth win of his career, and pushed his earnings to $241,481. Driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, he paid $3.20 to win.

“It’s really hard for these horses to go twice in one day,” Chris Oakes said in regards to scratching Split The House from the Little Brown Jug final. “He drew badly, and I hadn’t had the horse that long, so not knowing him and his characteristics, I didn’t want to put his future in jeopardy; I’d only had the horse a week at that point. He was good. You could see in the last turn, he was full of pace, and I figured he’d fire home pretty well, and he did.”

“I kind of had my eye on him and I mentioned it to the Crawfords,” Oakes also said in regards to purchasing Split The House. “I haven’t even been with them that long and they knew all about this horse. As soon as he became available, they jumped on it.”

“He wasn’t paid in next week [to the Tattersalls], but he does have the Breeders Crown coming up and I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ll be pointing to,” Oakes also said.

Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly

Joe Holloway-trainee Divine Caroline put in the fastest mile of the three divisions for the $189,400 Bluegrass three-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:53.2. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Loving Caroline stalked a pace of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:26 set by Band Of Angels. Driver David Miller tipped the even-money favourite first over after the half, and applied pressure to the pacesetter nearing the top of the stretch. The two battled for control through the stretch, with Divine Caroline edging past race leader and forced to fend off the late-pacing Daut Full from off cover. She held Daut Full off, however, winning by about a length over the closer, with Band Of Angels finishing third and Storm Point fourth.

Owned by Val D’Or Farms, Ted Gewertz, Rojan Stables, and Michael Ouriel, the $4.00 winner won the fifth race of her career, pushing her earnings to $396,633.

“She raced really well,” David Miller said. “She’s been really consistent this year and gives a good effort.”

“The rail’s very deep, still,” Miller also said. “There’s a little bit of a wind, and I guess they’re [the track crew] working a little too hard on the inside.”

“They’re [Bettor Be Steppin and Divine Caroline] very good and they’re very consistent,” Joe Holloway said. “[Bettor Be] Steppin had been the better filly for most of the time, but [Divine] Caroline’s been consistent and she may be the fastest. The next three to four weeks may be fun.”

“We go here [for the Tattersalls Filly Pace] then to Canada for the Breeders Crown,” Holloway also said.

Wicked Little Minx stalked the front for the entire mile until she had an opportunity to pace through a vacant slot in the stretch and sneak to the lead and to a 1:55.3 win in the first division.

Bettor Be Steppin set the tempo after circling by early leader Invest In Art for control. Once on the lead, she put up fractions of :28.4, :57.2, and 1:27.1. Pressure came nearing the three-quarter pole from Invest In Art, who popped out of the pocket heading into the stretch. Bettor Be Steppin held her at bay in the stretch, but drifted off the pylons in the process, which allowed for Wicked Little Minx to pace by the 3-5 favourite who attempted to retake the lead approaching the finish, but settled for second. Invest In Art finished third.

Wicked Little Minx, owned by Courant A B, paid $11.80 to win. This was the fourth win of her career, earning $193,679 to date. The daughter by Rocknroll Hanover-Beachy Lady, is trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Brett Miller.

“She’s gotten her things together from summer and onwards, and now she’s going for it again,” owner Anders Ström said. “Today’s trip by Brett was perfect. And well done by the stable, trainer, groom, and everyone because this horse has a lot to do in the future.”

“It’s so fun to also be involved in the pacing business,” Ström also said. “I’m a trotting person, but a few years back I told my friend Bernie Noren that I would like to get involved in pacing a little bit, and Bernie actually helped me pick this one out [Wicked Little Minx at the 2013 Harrisburg Yearling Sale].”

“Besides the Jugette, there’s been many other races so far where I’ve gotten very bad trips with her,” Brett Miller said. “Finally things worked out and we got a good trip.”

“It’s still tiring,” Miller also said talking about the track surface. “They’ve [the track crew] done a great job with this track. With all the rain we had yesterday and as bad as it was last night, they’ve done a great job, but it’s still very tiring.”

Storming from the back of the pack down the center of the track, Bedroomconfessions fulfilled her duty as the 6-5 favourite by winning the second split of the Bluegrass three-year-old filly pace in 1:54.1. Setting the pace was Devil Child, with fractions of :28.2, :56.3, and 1:26.2. Around the far turn, Triple V Hanover tipped first over, with Moremercy Bluechip and Bedroomconfessions tracking the cover. Triple V Hanover edged into second after pocket-sitter Happiness retreated at the top of the stretch, while Moremercy Bluechip fanned wide of her cover, as did Bedroomconfessions. Once rolling from the back, Bedroomconfessions soon rushed up to and by Devil Child and edged away to a two-length victory.

Devil Child held on for second, Triple V Hanover finished third, and Moremercy Bluechip was fourth.

Returning $4.60 to win, Bedroomconfessions is a daughter of American Idea-Turnoffthelights. She’s owned by Riverview Racing LLC and Alagna Racing LLC, trained by Tony Alagna, and driven by Tim Tetrick. She obtained her sixth win of her career, earning $372,893.

“My wife made me buy the dam, Turnoffthelights,” owner and breeder Myron Bell said. “She’s out of a sister to Keystone Horatio; that’s a family that goes back to Smooth Fella and Happy Lady, and I always wanted to have a filly in this family. We bred her to American Ideal and Bedroom[confessions] was the first foal, so we’re happy to have her.”

“We bought her [dam Turnoffthelights] in Lexington about seven or eight years ago,” Bell also said. “We raced her as a two-year-old. She had minor ability.”

“She’ll [Bedroomconfessions] be bred to the Captain[treacherous] either next year or the year after, it depends on how well she wants to race,” Bell also said.

(The Red Mile)


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