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'Heston' Concludes Season With Record Matron Win

Published: December 2, 2012 8:56 pm ET

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Heston Blue Chip turned in a dazzling 1:48 all-age track record triumph in the $176,663 Matron Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts, his final start of the season, on Sunday evening at Dover Downs.

With George Brennan catch-driving, Heston Blue Chip settled away third while elimination winner Hillbilly Hanover (Yannick Gingras) worked his way to the lead over Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) during a :25.4 opening quarter.

Brennan made his move at the quarter pole, sending the heavy 1-2 favourite to the top. Heston Blue Chip cleared to command as the field moved in front of the grandstand for the first time and proceeded to the half in :53.4 while the other elimination winner, Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell), advanced first up from mid-pack.

Thinking Out Loud applied pressure to the leader down the backstretch, moving up to his saddle pad, but Heston Blue Chip forged ahead and drew clear past the 1:20.1 third quarter station. Thinking Out Loud dropped back into the two-hole around the final turn while Heston Blue Chip opened up two lengths on top.

Thinking Out Loud made one final attempt to steal the glory down the stretch, but came up half a length short as Heston Blue Chip soared to victory in a career-best clocking of 1:48 flat, shaving two-fifths of a second off Dali's track record. Thinking Out Loud stayed for second and Escape The News (Matt Kakaley) finished third.

Linda Toscano trains the American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip colt, who paid $3 to win, for owner Kenneth Jacobs of Baldwinsville, New York.

"He's not really new to me," noted Brennan, who picked up the drive with Heston Blue Chip's regular reinsman Tim Tetrick attending a family wedding. "He's been beating me as a two-year-old and three-year-old. I've been following him for the last two years so just by watching him and racing against him I knew a lot about him already.

"I was able to drop in third there for a bit," he continued. "Yannick backed his horse off a little bit and I was able to move to the lead and it worked out great. He's very versatile and he's showed that all year long. He's just a tremendous horse and it's a great way for Linda to cap off the year. It's the last big stakes race for the year and she's had a wonderful year. I've known Linda a long time since back when I was in highschool so congratulations to Linda. She's done a great job, not only with this horse, but with the rest of the stable."

Heston Blue Chip notched his 14th win of the year in 18 starts while pushing his seasonal bankroll over the million-dollar mark and lifetime earnings to $1.4 million. In addition to winning Sunday's Matron, Heston Blue Chip has collected Empire Breeders Classic, Breeders Crown and Progress Pace trophies during his sophomore campaign.

For Toscano, the Matron victory capped off a career-year full of numerous stakes wins by Heston Blue Chip and fellow stable stars Chapter Seven and Market Share.

"I feel like that guy that won the Powerball. I won it this year too," said Toscano, reflecting on her standout season. "I don't expect to [duplicate a year like this]. I will gladly move aside for the next person to experience all the thrills and everything I have experienced this year. Everybody that does this deserves a year like this."

The thrills for Toscano and Heston Blue Chip may just continue though as the colt will be returning to the track to race as a four-year-old following a winter break.

"He will be back at four," confirmed Jacobs. "I'm turning him out after this race for three months. We'll bring him back in March of 2013. I'd like to see all the three-year-olds go at four. They're very competitive, even though he was dominant for the latter part of the year, it's nice to see. And Linda's done such a great job keeping him sharp. Even now, it's a cold night and he still went in [1]:48. He is the best three-year-old in North America. I want everybody to know."

Sunday's undercard featured three $20,000 second leg divisions of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund Stakes for two-year-old pacing colts, which went to Artistic Director, Beammeupscottie, and Golden Gun.

In the first division, 19-1 Artistic Director closed like a bullet in deep stretch to overtake public choice and front-pacing Ilikethemtrashy (Jim Morand) for a convincing 1:54.1 victory. Bobby Clark trains the winner for owner-breeder Kovach Stables and co-owner Tina Clark. The Art Director-Demotta Bing gelding won for the second time this season in eight starts. Rusty Load (Corey Callahan) finished third.

Beammeupscottie registered a 1:53.2 triumph in the second DSBF preliminary event. Jon Roberts steered the Rustler Hanover-Hop Irish gelding home for Gloria Kinnamon. It was the second win of the year for the Jason Green trainee. Company After Six (Allan Davis) and Quick Rod (Corey Callahan) were second and third, respectively. Hot Roddy and Casino Bags were scratched.

The third split was all Golden Gun. Trainer Bart Dalious drove the Headmaster-Golden Delicious gelding to the front. After fighting off a challenge from Ambush The Bags (Allan Davis) on the backstretch, Golden Gun rolled on easily to his second consecutive victory. Recess Romeo (Ron Pierce) came on to finish third.

The top eight point-getters after the prelims advance to next week’s $100,000 final.

(With files from Dover Downs)

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