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Currier & Ives Elims Contested

Published: June 23, 2009 9:48 am ET

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Rembrandt Spur painted a pretty picture Monday at the Meadows, brushing off the 1-2 favourite and capturing an elimination of the Currier & Ives for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters.

Triumphant Caviar scored a front-end victory in the other elimination. The $119,679 final of the Currier & Ives is set for next Monday.

Rembrandt Spur, a Pegasus-Spur—Marty E gelding, has shown flashes of brilliance as well as troubling breaks in his 15-race career. On Monday, he was all business, powering to the lead from the rail and snubbing the bid of heavy favourite Keystone Activator, a World Record holder at two.

“If he had come at the quarter pole, I would have released him,” winning trainer/driver Dick Stillings said. “But when he came at the three-eighths, I preferred to give my horse his head a little bit. You have to give Keystone Activator credit — he just keeps coming at you.”

Although Rembrandt Spur opened a two-length lead at the top of the stretch, Keystone Activator persevered, but fell a nose short. Magic Carpet Ride and American Journey closed well to finish third and fourth, respectively, and qualify for next week’s final.

“Sometimes the track doesn’t suit him. The track gets to stinging him, and he doesn’t like to pick up his front feet,” Stillings said of Rembrandt Spur, an $8,000 yearling acquisition for Roy Davis. “I was really tickled to get him around the track after he ran last week. I think he’s better out of a hole, but I’ve been able to do that with him only once. Maybe it’s too late to race him from a hole now.”

Despite Post 8, Dave Palone sent Triumphant Caviar to the lead. The son of SJs Caviar—Ens Tag Session prevailed under wraps in 1:56, a length better than Salutation Hanover. Also qualifying were Knoxtrot Hall and Rompaway Beau.

Trainer Chris Beaver said he didn’t regard the wide post position as a major obstacle for his colt.

“He likes to be rolling when he gets to the gate, so I don’t mind the outside at all,” Beaver said. “He has plenty of 'go' when he gets rolling. He came back really well — a little on the hot side. But he’s starting to calm down now.

“He’s well staked. If he’s good enough, he has the Hambletonian. I tried to keep him away from the biggest horses until the Hambletonian.”

Kerry Beaver, James Gallagher, Luc Ouellette and Paul Bernard own Triumphant Caviar, a $12,000 yearling purchase.


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