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Matron Could Be 'Credit's Last Hurrah

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Published: November 16, 2011 7:42 pm ET

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Up The Credit will leave Canada for Delaware’s Dover Downs, looking to finish his season with one more stakes victory. The North America Cup champion was among 15 horses entered in the Matron Stakes for three-year-old male pacers. Two eliminations will be held Sunday at Dover Downs, with the top four horses from each division advancing to the final on November 27.

Westwardho Hanover, who won the $330,000 Progress Pace at Dover Downs on November 13, is the 4-5 favourite in Up The Credit’s elimination. Up The Credit, who will be driven by John Campbell for trainer Carl Jamieson, is the 5-1 second choice. Westwardho Hanover will start from Post 1; Up The Credit from Post 8.

Hugadragon, who was second to Betterthancheddar in last weekend’s American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park, is the 7-5 favourite in the other Matron elimination.

Up The Credit has won eight of 20 races this year and earned $1.11 million in purses for owners Jamieson, Thomas Kyron, Brian Paquet and Joanne Morrison.

“Post position means a lot, and we got a tough one again this week,” Jamieson said. “I don’t know why, but we’ve been drawing badly with him for the bigger races. We draw good in overnight races, but when it comes to stakes races we draw poorly.”

Up The Credit drew post No. 7 for the Breeders Crown final and finished fourth, but was charging late and beaten only a length. He drew Post 6 in his first heat of the Little Brown Jug, which led to a fourth-place finish and another outside post (seven) in the second heat. He also got Post 7 in his elimination for the Confederation Cup.

He did get a favourable starting spot, Post 2, in the $1.5 million North America Cup, which he won by a length over Roll With Joe. The win was extra special because Jamieson’s son, Jody, drove Up The Credit to victory on Father’s Day weekend.

“I really put a lot of pressure on myself to win the North America Cup,” Jody Jamieson said. “It’s a race we look forward to every year and everyone in Canada wants to have a horse for it; not only because it goes for $1.5 million, but because it’s the biggest race in Canada. It’s a huge race to be in, let alone win.”

The North America Cup victory was part of a span of races that saw Up The Credit win five times in six starts. His only setback during that stretch was an eighth-place finish in his Meadowlands Pace elimination, when Jamieson said the colt was the victim of the pace (a :57.3 middle half-mile split). Up The Credit, who was nine lengths off the lead after the opening quarter-mile went in :26.3, finished with a :26.2 last quarter-mile, but every horse in the field was under :27.

“Jody just drove him the way he always drove him, it’s just the way the race unfolded,” Carl Jamieson said. “You walk that middle half and they all can usually throw in a :26 final quarter. Jody was shocked the way the race unfolded and really disappointed with himself. I knew [Up The Credit] was good enough; I thought he was one of the best.”

Up The Credit won the $100,000 Meadowlands Pace Consolation the following weekend.

A son of Western Terror-Cantbuymehappiness, Up The Credit was purchased for $72,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. His mother is a half-sister to millionaire Precious Delight and his family includes 1993 Horse of the Year Staying Together.

Last year, Up The Credit was limited to five starts because of a bone chip in his right knee. He won the first two races of his career, just missing the track record at Buffalo Raceway in the first, and pacing 1:51.4 in the second.

“He’s been a really nice horse,” Jamieson said. “I won at Buffalo with him in his first start and was just one-fifth of a second off the track record. I didn’t know what the track record was. He could have gone a lot faster that day. His second start, Jody drove him and won in :51 and change. Then we had the knee issue and laid him up.”

Jamieson expects to retire Up The Credit following the Matron, in part because racing next year would most likely require surgery on the knee.

“He’s an all-around nice horse,” Jamieson said. “He’s still fresh and he looks good. I think he’s had a pretty darn good year. I raced him in every major event there was that was going for big money. Anybody would love to own him. He’s just a good mannered horse to work around and be around.”

Here is a look at the fields for the Matron eliminations:

Elimination #1

1. Mr Tommy Fra
2. Powerful Mist
3. Hugadragon
4. Lizard King
5. Rock To Glory
6. Rhombus
7. Lookinforadventure

Elimination #2
1. Westwardho Hanover
2. Reckless Ric
3. American Romance
4. Samandar
5. Eightee
6. Overnight Delight
7. Sir Ziggys Z Tam
8. Up The Credit


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.

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