Admiral Hill Authoritative In KYSS Opener

Admiral Hill
Published: May 27, 2024 11:46 pm EDT

Avenging his traffic-burdened third-place finish in the $136,986 Kentucky Sire Stakes final, Admiral Hill left nothing to fate and muscled home a 1:51.1 winner in the $68,493 opening preliminary of another Kentucky Sire Stakes series on Monday, May 27 at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel.

Leaving from post two, driver Yannick Gingras floated forward with Admiral Hill as Tip Top Cat (Todd McCarty) and Blue Lou (Brandon Bates) forged towards the front into a :27.2 first quarter. Once Tip Top Cat made his brush for the lead, Gingras pulled Admiral Hill and circled to the helm through a :56 half to force his competition into his court. 

A Cool Moment (Tony Hall) pulled first over moving for the backside with El Rey (David Miller) in tow and made steady gains after Admiral Hill, who stayed chilly on the point past three-quarters in 1:24. Through the final turn, A Cool Moment intensified pressure on Admiral Hill, but once Gingras shook up the 1-5 favourite to enter the next gear for the straightaway. Admiral Hill turned away A Cool Moment and strode in a 1-3/4-length winner with El Rey rallying off cover for third and Tip Top Cat taking fourth.

Winning his 13th race from 31 starts, Admiral Hill has now banked $420,825. Per Engblom trains the four-year-old Sweet Lou gelding for owner Morrison Racing Stables. Admiral Hill paid $2.64 to win. 

French Wine took top honours from the three $68,493 KYSS splits for four-year-old horses and geldings with the fastest clocking of the divisions, a 1:53.3 stroll pillar to post as the 2-5 choice. 

Dan Dube protected position from the pylon post with French Wine to pocket Prince Of Honor (Todd McCarthy) moving to a :27.2 first quarter. From there, no challengers loomed, leaving French Wine to coast to a :57 half and then hit the accelerator to three-quarter in 1:25.2. Prince Of Honor started creeping out of the pocket through the final turn but levelled off on the spin for home while French Wine cruised under wraps to a 1-1/4-length win. Morning Edition (David Miller) gave chase in third, beaten another five lengths, with Drink Up Drink Up (Brandon Bates) fourth. 

Julie Miller trains French Wine, a stallion by Bar Hopping, for owners Andy Miller Stable Inc., Daniel Plouffe, Jean Plouffe and One Legend Stable Inc. He won his 10th race from 32 starts and has now earned $1,116,960. French Wine paid $2.84 to win. 

Ari Ferrari J rebounded from a break in stride as the 1-5 choice in his last KYSS showing to snatch the opening leg with a 1:54.1 front-stepping effort in the second division. 

Yannick Gingras asserted Ari Ferrari J for the front and cleared command after a :27.1 skirmish for control. Once planted on top, Ari Ferrari J settled to a :56.4 half and braced for the challenge of 3-5 favourite Once In A Lifetime (Todd McCarthy) as he emerged from third to lay aim on the leader. Ari Ferrari J stayed resolute on the lead as Once In A Lifetime inched closer through three-quarters in 1:25.2 to then match strides with the leader in the final turn. But Once In A Lifetime folded in the straightaway while Ari Ferrari J fought forward and edged to a length win. Sparks Fly (David Miller) gave chase off a pocket ride to take third and Country Dagger (Andy McCarthy) survived a wide trip for fourth. 

A stallion by Walner, Ari Ferrari J won his seventh race from 33 starts and has now earned $836,072 for owner Kenneth Jacobs. Tony Alagna trains the $10.26 winner.

Djimon similarly rebounded off a break in stride when competing in the $136,986 KYSS final to chock the winning punch in the final division for trotting males. 

David Miller pushed Djimon into third as 2-5 favourite The Hazelton (Yannick Gingras) powered to take over the lead past a :27.1 first quarter from Full Strength (Andy McCarthy), who yielded for the pocket. The Hazelton did not slow once in command, clocking a heated half in :55.3 before trying to grab a breather into the third quarter. But while The Hazelton tried to catch his breath through three-quarters in 1:25.2, Miller came charging with Djimon and motored to the lead off the final turn. Djimon reached with ease for the line to stop the clock in 1:54.4 and a length better than Brodeur (Tony Hall) closing for second. The Hazelton faded to third and Full Strength settled for fourth. 

Mark Steacy trains Djimon, a gelded son of Tactical Landing, for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc., Dale Larson and Stephen Downey. He won his eighth race from 29 starts and has earned $200,649. Djimon paid $12.34 to win. 

Following her KYSS sweep, Mambacita opened the newest series seeking yet another sweep following a 1:53.2 brute-force effort in the lone division for trotting mares. 

Dan Dube pushed Mambacita for the front but faced a first-turn challenge from Muscling Vegas (David Miller), who crossed to the lead after a :27 first quarter. Once Muscling Vegas reached the pylons, Dube lunged Mambacita outside and charged her for the lead, which she cleared after a :55.2 half. Dube continued to keep Mambacita on task up the backside as Railee Something (Andy McCarthy) circled into second and perched onto the leader's helmet coming to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Railee Something swelled from the pocket through the final turn until McCarthy made the move to strike coming out of the turn, but Mambacita reached for the reserves and turned away the pocket pop by 1-1/2 lengths to deliver as the odds-on choice. Picaboo Lady (Yannick Gingras) snagged third, beaten another eight lengths, with Canterbury Hanover (Tony Hall) fourth. 

Mambacita, undefeated from four starts this season, competes for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Alagna Racing LLC and Pryde Stables Inc. Tony Alagna trains the daughter of Tactical Landing who won her 15th race from 35 starts and has now earned $982,822. She paid $3.66 to win. 

On the undercard, a $50,685 Open Pace and $50,685 Fillies & Mares Open Pace played the co-feature to Monday's stakes action. Both Odds On Blockchain (David Miller; 1:51.1, $14.28) and Ainthesamewithoutu (Tony Hall; 1:53, $7) went brave speed miles to land top prize in their respective events. Odds On Blockchain scored back-to-back Open wins for trainer Erv Miller and owner Douglas Overhiser while Ainthesamewithoutu scored vindication in the Fillies & Mares Open Pace for owner-trainer Anette Lorentzon. 

The United States Harness Driving Club (USHDC) complimented Oak Grove's stakes-laden program and the classy 12-year-old gelding Sprinter N sprinted home a handy winner in a $17,808 pace for Peter Kleinhans, stopping the timer in 1:56.4. The win stretched two streaks on Monday, the first being Sprinter N’s third straight win since his arrival at Oak Grove earlier this month with the second streak belonging to Kleinhans, who has won his last trio of starts in USHDC competition, after guiding Paperback Thriller and Jim Strikesitrich to the winner’s circle the previous two weeks. Trained by Randy Crisler for owner Theri Hensley, Sprinter N paid $3.54 to his multitude of faithful.

Live harness racing resumes at Oak Grove on Tuesday, May 28 at 3 p.m. (CDT) and the card features a $987.79 carryover in the Late Pick 4, which starts in Race 9, as well as a $379.77 carryover in the last-race $.20 Super High 5.

(Oak Grove Racing and USHDC)

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