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Atlanta All The Way In Kentucky Filly Futurity

Published: October 7, 2018 1:51 pm ET

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Atlanta wasted no time in grabbing the racetrack in the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity Final, and the Hambletonian champ went the distance en route to posting a 1:51.1 score for Team Zeron.

Atlanta carved out panels of :28.2, :56.1 and 1:24.3 for driver Scott Zeron before rocketing home in :26.3 to win comfortably over Seviyorum and Nixie Volo. Plunge Blue Chip enjoyed a pocket trip throughout the mile before stopping abruptly around the final turn and finishing eighth.

“Everybody I noticed today was pulling shoes and I didn’t want to pull the shoes and race her two heats. So I said to Scott ‘If you can get us through the first heat and get into the final I’ll pull the shoes off her.’ [Trainer] George Ducharme came by and gave me a perfect set of bell boots for her because we didn’t have any.”

“[Pulling the shoes] worked out so well,” Rick Zeron said after the race, “and when Scott called on her around the last turn, I was in the paddock. Gone.”

“For him, it was a big move to make,” Scott Zeron said. “But he was confident talking over it with me and we put some bell boots on her—I really think that helped her just that little bit more.”

With the victory, the daughter of Chapter Seven-Hemi Blue Chip improved her sophomore record to 7-4-1 from 12 starts for trainer Rick Zeron. The 11-time winner, who is owned by Rick Zeron Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant, lifted her lifetime earnings to $1,043,997.

Lily Stride made a stern challenge versus the tempo-setting Nixie Volo around the final turn in the $48,000 first elimination of the Kentucky Filly Futurity, and after putting away that foe in the lane she managed to stave off late pressure en route to an eye-catching score in 1:50.2.

With Tim Tetrick at the lines, Lily Stride watched Nixie Volo free-wheel on the lead through panels of :27.4 and :55.3 before sinking her claws into that foe around the final turn. The trotters tussled to the three-quarter pole in 1:23.3 before Lily Stride put away the pacesetter and gained some separation on the others. It was a nip and tuck battle to the line, however, when Pat Matters came charging down the middle of the track. Lily Stride dug in late and prevailed over Pat Matters in 1:50.2. Rounding out the top five finishers were Seviyorum, Nixie Volo and Supergirl Riley.

Mark Harder trains the three-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill-Sterling Volo for partners Emilio Rosati of Australia and Maria Rosati of South Carolina. The filly improved her 2018 record to 2-5-2 from 13 trips postward with the victory. The lion’s share of the purse bumped her overall bankroll to $445,608.

Manchego and Atlanta took turns on the lead in the early stages of the second elimination of the Kentucky Filly Futurity, but it was Plunge Blue Chip’s late rally that helped her to earn the win in a World Record-equalling clocking of 1:49.4.

Atlanta took charge early and had the field chasing her to the quarter pole in a very sensible clocking of :28.2. Manchego was hustled to the lead in the backstretch, and she sizzled past the mid-way point in :54.4. She was still in charge at the three-quarter station in 1:22.4, but Atlanta was angling out of the pocket and Plunge Blue Chip was revving up after sitting third for most of the mile.

Atlanta cleared to the lead, but she couldn’t stave off the relentless pressure from Plunge Blue Chip who edged by en route to halting the teletimer in 1:49.4. She matched her own World Record in the process.

The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Mass-Dunk The Donato now boasts a 7-3-2 record from 12 trips to the track this season. The 16-time winner has racked up more than $900,000 to date for Ake Svanstedt Inc, Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables.

Be sure to check out the rest of the coverage from Kentucky Futurity Day in the 2018 Kentucky Futurity Day News Centre.

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