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Shark Gesture Takes Bettors Delight

Shark Gesture .jpg

Published: June 13, 2010 8:21 pm ET

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Getting close to Shark Gesture at the finish line is one thing, but getting past the seven-year-old pacer is another.

Shark Gesture, with regular driver George Brennan at the lines, won Sunday’s $228,000 Bettors Delight at Tioga Downs by a neck over Hypnotic Blue Chip in 1:48.3. The time was the fastest mile ever at Tioga Downs, eclipsing the mark of 1:49.4 established last week by Dreamfair Eternal.

Starting from post six, Shark Gesture took the lead from early pace-setter Foiled Again just after the quarter-mile point and outraced the field from there. The fractions for the mile were :26.3 for the opening quarter, :53.4 for the half and 1:21.1 for three-quarters.

“I left hard,” Brennan said. “I had him right on the gate, which I normally don’t do because he’s a little funny behind the gate sometimes. Today, I knew I had to get out of there. He left good. Once I got to the lead, I kept him rolling. I wanted to get away from Won The West a little bit, and I was able to.”

Won The West, one of four horses from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, finished third, beaten by three-quarters of a length. Burke’s other entries – Foiled Again, Atochia and McCedes – finished fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.

“I thought they raced good,” Burke said. “Shark Gesture is just a great horse. Foiled (Again) was loaded with pace, but I don’t know what you do. If you take him any harder, you maybe take yourself out of the race. It’s just hats off to Shark Gesture; he’s a great horse. We’ll see if we can get him next time.”

Shark Gesture has won three of four races this year and earned $247,000 for owners Norman Smiley, Gerald Smiley and TLP Stable. He has won 23 of 70 career starts and banked $2.2 million.

“He’s one of the toughest horses, if not the toughest horse, I’ve ever raced,” Brennan said. “It makes my job a lot easier, sitting behind him. That’s what he’s all about, just toughness and true grit. He loves to win horse races and he loves to fight them off.”

Shark Gesture needed to show his toughness as he fended off Hypnotic Blue Chip and driver Jody Jamieson in deep stretch. Hypnotic Blue Chip paced his final quarter-mile in 26.3 seconds.

Hypnotic Blue Chip was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Molson Pace, won by Won The West, on May 28 at Western Fair Raceway. In that race, Hypnotic Blue Chip was within 2-1/2 lengths of the lead when he went off stride as the horses approached the stretch.

“Jody thought he would have won the Molson Pace if he didn’t run around the far turn,” said Kevin McDermott, who trains Hypnotic Blue Chip. “I’m just blessed to have the horse. I was thrilled with his effort today. For a four-year-old to step up against these horses, I’ve never had a horse that could pace like this horse. He’s scary.”

Shark Gesture is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing, according to the most recent Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. His next start is expected to come June 26 in the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park.

“It was everything we expected,” trainer Larry Remmen said about Shark Gesture’s effort in the Bettors Delight. “He’s just a tough animal. He takes on all challengers and he loves to race.”


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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