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"Everybody Is Out To Beat Him"

Published: June 25, 2013 4:35 pm ET

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Captaintreacherous is undefeated this season, but will face a tough task to keep his record perfect in Saturday’s $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for three-year-old pacers at Pocono Downs.

The defending Pacer of the Year has drawn Post 9 in the nine-horse field, the outermost starting position and the most difficult spot from which to win at Pocono. Horses starting from Post 9 have a 6.4 win percentage at the five-eighths-mile oval, which requires horses to go around three turns to complete the mile race.

Captaintreacherous, Emeritus Maximus and Sunfire Blue Chip won elimination races June 22 to qualify for the Hempt final. Also advancing were the second and third-place finishers from each elim. For some stakes finals, the connections of the elimination winners are permitted to select their post position, but that is not the case with the Hempt or the three other stakes on Saturday’s card at Pocono Downs (to view the draw results, click here).

Emeritus Maximus drew Post 5 and Sunfire Blue Chip drew Post 8.

“With the open draw, that shakes up things quite a bit,” said Tony Alagna, the trainer of Captaintreacherous. “The track had a huge speed bias the other night, which Pocono normally does, but even more so than normal. The track was very much playing speed. Regardless of where he draws he’s going to have to be forwardly placed off the gate.”

The other finals on Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono Downs include the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotters and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for three-year-old female pacers.

Captaintreacherous has won all four of his starts this year, including the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup on June 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For his career, Captaintreacherous has won 12 of 14 races and earned $1.48 million. In 2012, he became the first two-year-old in 25 years to be named Pacer of the Year in the United States.

Last weekend, Captaintreacherous won his elim by a neck over Vegas Vacation in 1:48.4. Having started from Post 4 with regular driver Tim Tetrick, he reached the lead by the halfway point and paced the final half-mile in a sharp 53 seconds. He was one of 12 winners on last Saturday’s 14-race card that was in first or second place after the opening quarter-mile.

“He was very good,” Tetrick said. “He only won by a neck, but that’s all you have to win by. He did everything I asked him to do. He got a nice first and second quarter and then finished up the mile very strong.

“Everybody is out to beat him, but I’d rather be the favourite going into the race than not.”

The Ben Franklin Pace features the richest pacer in North American harness racing history, Foiled Again. The nine-year-old won his Franklin elim in 1:48, equalling the fastest mile ever by an older pacer on a five-eighths track and setting the record for the fastest mile by a gelding of any age.

Foiled Again, who has earned $4.92 million in his career, has drawn Post 4 for the final. The other elim winners, Razzle Dazzle and Dynamic Youth, drew Post 1 and Post 9, respectively. Betterthancheddar, who won last year’s Franklin in 1:48, drew Post 8 after finishing third in his elimination (won by Dynamic Youth).

Smilin Eli will try to remain unbeaten for his career in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, but like Captaintreacherous has drawn Post 9. Smilin Eli was unraced as a two-year-old and has won all four of his starts this year. He won his Beal elim by one length over Fico in 1:52.3.

Jimmy Takter trainees Dontyouforgetit and Corky won the other two elims and drew Post 2 and 4, respectively. Dontyouforgetit has won three races in a row after going without a victory in his first two starts this season. Corky was second to Smilin Eli in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship June 1 at the Meadowlands.

The James M. Lynch Memorial includes multiple-stakes-winner I Luv The Nitelife, who has won three races in a row, including the Fan Hanover final on June 15 at Mohawk and her Lynch elimination last weekend. She has drawn Post 8 for the Lynch final.

Ms Caila J Fra won the other elim and has drawn Post 3. Somwherovrarainbow, who was voted last season’s best two-year-old female pacer in the United States, will start from Post 6, while Shebestingin, who has won eight of 10 career starts and was second by a head and a neck in her defeats, has drawn Post 5.


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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