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Three-Year-Old Matrons Complete

Published: November 15, 2018 9:17 pm ET

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Some of the Grand Circuit's top sophomores invaded the First State on Thursday (November 15) for four lucrative Matron Stakes finals at Dover Downs, and the night ended with five stakes winners from those events.

Six Pack was a late scratch from the 2018 Breeders Crown but the fastest three-year-old in harness racing history looked 100 percent with an easy trouncing of his rivals in the $210,150 Matron final for three-year-old trotting colts.

Leaving from post five, Six Pack and driver Ake Svanstedt pressed on for the lead as the wings of the gate folded and cleared to the lead over Fashionwoodchooper (Yannick Gingras) before the :28.1 opening quarter. Second choice Mets Hall (Andy Miller) was flushed from third by Mississippi Storm (Andy McCarthy) just before the :57.3 half but could only get to within a length of Six Pack as the Kentucky Futurity winner whizzed by the third quarter marker in 1:26 over the sloppy surface before opening up a four-length cushion around the final turn. Six Pack maintained that margin through the stretch and tripped the timer in 1:54.1. Fashionwoodchopper stayed for second with Mississippi Storm nosing out Mets Hall for third.

Svanstedt trains and co-owns Six Pack (Muscle Mass - Pleasing Lady) along with Little E LLC of New York, N.Y., Stall Kalmar FF of Sweden and Lars Berg of Hirtshals, Denmark. The win was the 11th of the 14-start campaign for Six Pack, the front-runner for divisional honours stateside, and the lion's share of the purse lifted his seasonal bankroll to $1,075,648.

The toast of Indiana, Custom Cantab took her show on the road for the first time in her career and showed her talent isn't limited to state boundaries with an impressive score in the $183,900 Matron final for three-year-old trotting fillies over some of the division's most accomplished sophomores.

Driver David Miller (subbing for regular pilot Peter Wrenn) left for position with 7-1 choice Custom Cantab from post six, but the horse inside them -- Supergirl Riley (Tony Morgan) -- was able to clear to the cones ahead of favoured rail horse Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt) and forced Custom Cantab to forge on if she wanted control. Parked through a brisk :26.4 opening panel, Miller and Custom Cantab finally landed on top at the three-eighths mark. Plunge Blue Chip was right-lined to the first-over flow before the :55.2 half and couldn't gain substantially through the backstretch as Custom Cantab kept all rivals at bay through the 1:24.2 third station. Plunge Blue Chip appeared to gain on the tempo-setter around the final turn but Custom Cantab would not be denied by the world record holder or the pocket-sitting-turned-pylon-skimming Supergirl Riley, hitting the wire in 1:53.1, just a tick off her lifetime best. Supergirl Riley fell just short in her heroic passing lane lunge, a neck back of the winner with Plunge Blue Chip completing the triactor.

Chris Beaver trains and co-owns Custom Cantab (Mr Cantab - Custom Model) along with Donald Robinson of Cardington, Ohio and RBH Ventures Inc. of New York, N.Y. After a solid rookie season with a 2-7-3 record from a dozen starts, Custom Cantab has kept her record of just top-three finishes intact but has increased that win percentage with authority. In 17 seasonal starts, she sports a sensational 13-3-1 resume with $521,400 in the bank this campaign.

Youaremycandygirl avenged a loss to stablemate Percy Bluechip in last month's Breeders Crown with a sharp wire-to-wire score in the $159,350 Matron final for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Yannick Gingras was at his usual spot in the driver's seat for Youaremycandygirl, who powered through fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:23.3 before polishing off her foes with a 28-second final quarter to seal the deal in 1:51.3. Percy Bluechip (Matt Kakaley) say the pocket throughout and couldn't gain on the pacesetter in the stretch but managed runner-up honours over Alexas Power (Tim Tetrick).

Ron Burke trains Youaremycandygirl (American Ideal - Sweet Lady Jane) for owner Bill Donovan of Delray Beach, Florida. The win bumped Youaremycandygirl's seasonal stash to $554,382 with her career bankroll on the cusp of $1.5 million.

The glamour boys saved the best for last with a four-across finish in the $193,750 Matron final for three-year-old male pacers and two horses hitting the wire in unison.

This Is The Plan (Tim Tetrick) was the swiftest off the gate and made the front before being pressured by second choice Jimmy Freight (Scott Zeron). Jimmy Freight cleared through a punishing :25.3 opening quarter, then stole a bit of a breather through the second stanza before a confrontation with favoured Lather Up (Montrell Teague) at the :54.4 half.

Lather Up was not advancing down the backside, sending second over Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) and third over The Downtown Bus (Corey Callahan) three-wide approaching the third station. Jimmy Freight maintained the lead through that 1:22.1 third quarter but was pressured by Dorsoduro Hanover. Turning for home, Callahan launched The Downtown Bus into the three path and Tetrick ducked This Is The Plan into the passing lane to contest the stretch drive creating a four-across finish at the wire. A photo was needed to separate the sophomores, and it revealed that This Is The Plan and The Downtown Bus crossed the wire in a dead heat to win in 1:49.1, with Jimmy Freight a short nose off to finish a hard-fought third.

The Downtown Bus (Mach Three - Slimsplace) is a homebred owned by trainer Jeff Gillis of Mississauga, Ont. along with Ellen Ott of Buffalo, N.Y. The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate notched the 11th win of his sophomore season and bumped his bankroll to $332,340.

This Is The Plan picked up his second win in four starts since joining the Ron Burke stable after the Little Brown Jug. Burke also co-owns the son of Somebeachsomewhere - Thats The Plan gelding along with Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Penn., Silva Purnel And Libby of Delray Beach, Fl. and Larry Karr of Randolph, N.J. The pacer's seasonal earnings now stand at $333.691.

Some of these pacing colts will return to Dover next Wednesday (November 21) for eliminations of the 2018 Hap Hansen Progress Pace, with the final slated for Thursday, November 29.

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