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Goodtimes Elims In The Books

Published: June 20, 2009 10:31 pm ET

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Undefeated Duded Up and Chris Christoforou were the class of the first of three eliminations for the Goodtimes Stakes, for sophomore trotters, tonight at Mohawk, while Canada’s two-year-old trotting colt of 2008, Federal Flex, proved untouchable in the second Goodtimes elim, and Southern Rocketop scored in the third.

Hurrikanebiggeorge and Yannick Gingras were fastest off the gate in the first contest (Race 1) but 3-5 favourite I Wont Dance (Trevor Ritchie) soon moved up to overtake, while Duded Up cruised comfortably in third. Just as the field completed a :58 half, Duded Up found another gear for Christoforou and cleared, with I Wont Dance accepting the pocket spot. By the head of the stretch, Duded Up had opened up by three and a quarter lengths, and crossed the wire unchallenged. I Wont Dance, the 3-5 favourite, settled for second while 30-1 shot, Neighsay Hanover (Trond Smedshammer) was third.

The winning time of 1:55 was a career best for Duded Up, who was unraced at two and is now undefeated in three lifetime starts. The son of Windsongs Legacy is trained by Ira Fisher for Ely Iverson of Moffat, Ont., and paid $8.30, $3.60 and $3.20 for the win.

“I thought he was a bit overlooked, but that’s okay,” commented Christoforou. “He raced well [and] the track’s in pretty good shape for all the rain we got. If we don’t get any more it should hold up well.

“He was doing it all on his own. I asked him once at the head of the lane, just to get into gear, and after that I shut him down about halfway down the lane. Hopefully he’s got a big future.”

Canada’s two-year-old trotting colt of 2008, Federal Flex, making his first start as a sophomore, was untouchable in the second Goodtimes elim, trotting home in 1:56.0 with part-owner Jody Jamieson sitting chilly in the bike.

The 1-5 favourite rocketed to the front off the gate and went wire-to-wire as he did in many of his two-year-old victories. Truth In Action (Tim Tetrick) rode the pocket through the entire mile but couldn’t get closer than a length behind Federal Flex – and with no-one coming at him, Jamieson shut his colt down through the middle half, hammering out fractions of :28.2, :59.1 and 1:28.4. By the three-quarter pole Federal Flex had a two-length advantage, and maintained that to cross the wire in 1:56.0, with Truth In Action second and Dave Palone urging And Heez Perfect to the show spot.

Federal Flex, by Muscles Yankee out of the good race mare, Scully FBI, hangs his harness bag in the barn of Jeff Gillis and is owned by the Federal Flex Stable, Ken Henwood, Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.

Jody Jamieson: “He was 1-5, he got all the respect in the race, but he was a little nervous in the paddock Jeff said, with it being his first start of the year. He really wanted to get out of there, so I had to be a little careful with him just off the gate. After that, I wouldn’t have moved on him if I’d had a [different] horse in the race either, because I wasn’t going to let anybody go.

“He was real strong -- :27.1 in the end [quarter]. We had some decent horses chasing us down there, but you get a cheap three-quarters like that and a cheap middle half and you make your own way after that.

“Every time I go to the gate with this horse, I get goosebumps. It’s a pleasure to be a part-owner on him and a pleasure to sit behind him every day.”

Asked about future meetings with the dominant three-year-old trotter in the States, Breeders’ Crown winner Muscle Hill, Jamieson said, tongue-in-cheek, “What was the name of the horse again? Oh, yeah, they say he’s a nice little horse, but I don’t know if he wants any part of Federal Flex!”

Confirming that the Hambletonian is the future focus for his colt, he added, “People are talking about him in the same sentence and that’s just the icing on the cake.”

The third Goodtimes elim gave racing fans a taste of Tennessee, as Southern Rocketop went wire-to-wire behind a troubled field of seven trotters, to win in 1:55.1.

With Illusionsndreams and Aden Hanover off-stride behind the gate, and Hibbler gapped off, only four horses enjoyed a clean start in this division (tickets were later refunded on Aden Hanover, who was ruled not to have had a fair start). Driver Brian Carpenter sent Southern Rocketop, making his first appearance on this side of the border, to the front right off the gate, and there the pair stayed, with Randy Waples struggling to keep an unruly Winning Mister on Carpenter’s helmet through much of the mile.

As the field entered the stretch, Southern Rocketop had a comfortable five-length lead. Waples, finally able to let Winning Mister roll, was able to get within spitting distance of the 2-5 favourite, but couldn’t catch him, settling for second money, while Lukas Rossi was a surprise third for Jack Moiseyev after a recovering Illusionsndreams
self-destructed again in deep stretch for Steve Condren.

“The colt raced real good tonight,” remarked driver Brian Carpenter. “We campaigned him as a two-year-old solely in Illinois and he was very good, so we decided to take him out amongst everybody.

“He hadn’t raced in a little over two weeks. I brought him up behind the truck and he’d never seen a big dog-house on there like that before, so he gave it a pretty good look.”

Asked whether his colt was getting a bit tired deep in the stretch, Carpenter said, “No, he wasn’t getting leg-weary. When he heard the horse coming he kicked it back in … he was just looking at everything.”

Southern Rocketop, a gelded son of Illinois sire, Pyschic Spirit, is trained by Illinois native Robert Taylor, and had previously raced only in that state, with Balmoral Park his home base. There, he has racked up 11 wins in 16 starts, and extends his winning streak in 2009 to three with this victory. The Powers Farm LLC of Winchester, Tennessee, owns the gelding, who was bred in Rhode Island.

Here is the field for the $333,200 final of the Goodtimes scheduled for next Saturday, June 27:

1 - Lukas Rossi
2 - Duded Up (picked second)
3 - Southern Rocketop (picked first)
4 - Federal Flex (picked third)
5 - And Heez Perfect
6 - Reinsman Hanover
7 - Winning Mister
8 - Neighsay Hanover
9 - I Wont Dance
10 - Truth in Action
AE1 - Hurrikanebiggeorge

The Goodtimes Stakes final is on a card which also features the finals of the Elegantimage, the Fan Hanover and of course the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup.

To view Saturday's results, click here.

(With files from WEG)

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