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Kyle Major, Foreign Officer March To Berry's Creek Final

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Published: May 1, 2010 9:37 pm ET

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Shortly after the dust settled in the Kentucky Derby, the star three-year-old colts of harness racing took center stage in the eliminations for the Berry's Creek at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Kyle Major brushed to the lead at the half and withstood all challengers to win the first of the $25,000 splits in 1:50. Driver Jody Jamieson settled Kyle Major into fourth off the gate and sent him first up on the heels of BGs Folly (George Brennan) to take the lead in a :55.1 opening half. Kyle Major easily rebuffed race favorite Rock N Roll Heaven (Daniel Dube) as they hit the three-quarter-marker in 1:23.1 and held off Europan Union (Andy MilleR) to win by a head in 1:50. Rock N Roll Heaven held off Cambassador (Ron Pierce) for third, while Morgan Shark (Montrell Teague) completed the list of colts advancing to the $225,000 (est.) Berry's Creek Final on Saturday, May 8.

"He doesn't have a whole lot of experience," Jamieson said, "but if you take a look at him, he's only going to get stronger as the year goes on. He was great tonight, but I told Monte [Gelrod] that he was drifting across the track a little bit late. He just wants to do his work and when he hears footsteps, he wants to dig in. He wasn't digging in any harder to the wire than he was halfway through the stretch. He had it wrapped up pretty good, had it measured."

As a freshman, Kyle Major posted two victories in seven starts and finished third in the $700,000 Breeders Crown. Shawn Robinson campaigned the colt in Canada for breeder-owner Robert Hamather of Exter, ON. Monte Gelrod has taken over training duties for the son of Art Major-So Clear while he is racing at the Meadowlands.

"I've only had him three days now," Gelrod said. "I spoke to Shawn and they were really high on this colt. He paces hard to the wire and just does everything right. He impressed me tonight, being on the front-end with those fractions. I wasn't too worried because I watched this colt last week in Canada and he digs in to the wire. He tries hard."

In the second Berry's Creek elimination, Foreign Officer rallied from far back to score a narrow victory over Four Starz Trace (Jody Jamieson) and Fred And Ginger (Tim Tetrick) in a career best 1:49.4. Pang Shui and driver Ray Schnittker (fourth) along with Sharks Legacy and Dave Miller (fifth) also advanced to the Berry's Creek Final.

Driven by George Brennan, Foreign Officer posted his third win in nine career starts. Erv Miller trains the son of Western Ideal-Allamerican Coco for Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky, John Fodera of Straten Island, New York, John Fielding of Toronto, Mel Hartman of Ottawa, ON.

"I was really disappointed in him last week," Brennan said. "He had a perfect trip and never fired [finished fifth]. This week I had a choice of [driving] three or four in the race. Erv texted me and asked me who I was going to drive and he said this horse may have had an excuse or two. I certainly trust Erv's word and I gave him another shot.

"They were going good and that cover really didn't hurt me too badly," Brennan said of sitting second-over behind the lagging Blue Rock. "Had I been up behind Montrell [Teague and Beignt], following up in 1:21.4, that might have taken a toll, too."

Both Berry's Creek elimination winners are eligible to the $1.5 Pepsi North America Cup on June 26 at Mohawk Racetrack and the $1 million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 17 at the Meadowlands. Kyle Major is assessed at odds of 40-1 and Foreign Officer at 58-1 in Trot Magazine’s 2010 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

A couple of races later in the $27,500 Four-Year-Old Preferred Pace, Hypnotic Blue Chip, a winner of his Berry’s Creek elimination in 2009, turned in a solid 1:49.2 effort, equaling his life’s mark. In rein to Brennan, who steered five winners on the 14-race card, the son of Art Major-A Traceofmagic pulled the pocket after the :26.3 first quarter and craved out middle fractions of :54.2 and 1:21.4 en route to a 1-1/4 length score over Dial Or Nodial (Brian Sears), who closed from fifth for the runner-up spot. The 3-2 favourite, Lisagain (John Campbell), journeyed first over to get third.

Hypnotic Blue Chip returned $6.20 to win as the 2-1 second choice in the field of nine. Kevin McDermott trains the $605,058 career winner, who has score two times in six 2010 starts for owner Francis Azur of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

To view Saturday’s results, click here.

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)


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