Steacy Looks To Shine At Pocono

Published: June 26, 2014 09:23 am EDT

“I’m lucky to have these two colts. They’re both very nice horses, I hope they stay healthy.”

The two colts in question are contenders capable of taking it all in their respective stakes finals at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday night. Mark Steacy trainees Sunshine Beach and Harper Blue Chip are key factors in the impressive fields lining up in the hopes of victory on Sun Stakes Saturday.

Steacy sends out Sunshine Beach in the 11th race, the $500,000 Ben Franklin, alongside recognized competitors like Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again and Bolt The Duer among others. Coming out of his elimination in fine form following a fifth place finish, the colt drew post position nine in the final.

“Post position in that race is so important. They are all such great horses that every fifth of a second matters.”

But don’t think Steacy is discouraged.

“The nine hole is a handicap but a win isn’t out of the question. The race could have a lot of flow and he could luck into a good trip.”

Pacing his own mile in 1:48.2 in last week’s elimination, Sunshine Beach was hot behind winner Domethatagain, closing in 27 seconds. Teaming up with Brian Sears last week, the partnership is reunited in Saturday night’s final. That combination also set a world record at Pocono last season, winning the 2013 Battle of the Brandywine after an epic battle with Captaintreacherous in 1:47.4.

With only two starts in 2014, Steacy feels his horse is better rested than some of his competition and that could prove to be an advantage.

“I think he’s a lot fresher than they are, to be honest. We did need a couple starts to get race tight and we’ve had that now. We’re ready to roll this week.”

In the following race on the card, Steacy switches from pace to trot and sends out Harper Blue Chip in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Luckier in post position than his stablemate, Harper Blue Chip drew the three hole in the final with the dominating Father Patrick to the outside in the eight.

“He’s got great gate speed, he gets himself into a good position and we have a good driver. We lucked into a great post position, so he has a really good chance.”

Finishing second in his elimination last week, Harper Blue Chip clocked his mile in 1:53.1, in only his third start of the year, right behind victor Father Patrick. Now race tight and ready, he is ready to take on the field of tough contenders.

Passing over an OSS Gold event this past Tuesday at Mohawk Racetrack to race at Pocono, Steacy says it’s all part of the plan.

“It’s been the plan all along; it’s all set in place to hopefully go to the Hambletonian with him. I thought this would be a good test for him to see what he can do.”

Driven regularly by Sylvain Filion, Brian Sears picks up the lines for the stakes final after sitting behind him in last week’s elimination. Finishing with the ear plugs in, Steacy thinks Sears will have an even better understanding of the horse this time around.

“'Harper' has a chance; he and I could be in the Hambletonian for my first time ever. I’m very lucky; I really, really like this colt.”

Race 11, $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace
1. Bettors Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke
2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke
3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke
4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke
5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard
6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley
7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson
8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna
9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy

Race 12, $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial
1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke
2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter
3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy
4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr.
5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley
6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder
7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris
8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter
9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Hannah Beckett; Photos courtesy HRC/Ken Weingartner;

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