Sweet Lou Streaks To 10th Win

Published: August 23, 2014 08:29 pm EDT

The fields for the Metro Pace, Shes A Great Lady Stakes and Canadian Pacing Derby are set after eliminations were contested for the rich pacing races during Saturday's harness racing card at Mohawk Racetrack. Sweet Lou's 10th straight win and victories by undefeated two-year-olds JK Shesalady, Band Of Angels and Artspeak were some of the highlights of the night.

Riding a nine race sub-1:49 win streak (last six in sub-1:48), Sweet Lou ($2.30) was the overwhelming 1-9 favourite in the first of two $40,000 Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations and didn't disappoint his backers.

With the inside post advantage, Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) forced the leaving outsider, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras), into the pocket through a track record tying opening panel in :25-seconds flat. As he began to back down the pace, driver Ron Pierce made a backstretch brush from third to first with Sweet Lou and the duo never looked back. Sweet Lou raced by the half-mile mark in :53.3 and three-quarters in 1:22 with stablemate Foiled Again moving back out to launch a late attack. However, harness racing's richest pacer could only get within one length of Sweet Lou as he cruised home for his 10th straight victory in 1:48.1, matching the fastest mile in Canada this year.

"He was just on cruise control," commented Pierce in a post-race interview. "This horse just paces so fast so easy, you have no idea where his bottom is.

"He's all race horse and he'll do anything you want. I love his gait, his speed -- it's just there. He's scary fast."

The five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser has over $3 million banked in purses lifetime with nearly one-third of that total earned during his current win streak. Sweet Lou is owned by trainer Ron Burke's Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura.

The connections of Sweet Lou will get to pick their post position for next weekend's final. Finishing second through fifth were Foiled Again, Domethatagain (Tim Tetrick), Thinking Out Loud and Captive Audience (James MacDonald).

Clear Vision ($10.30) defeated his stablemate Bettors Edge in a photo finish for Burke with State Treasurer just a neck back between the top two in the second Canadian Pacing Derby elimination.

The field was scratched down to five with Captaintreachous sick and even-money favourite Bettors Edge (Matt Kakaley) was the race leader through fractions of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:24.3. Clear Vision and Brett Miller moved underway from the back of the pack approaching the third quarter mark and flushed out State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou) from third. Bettors Edge continued to lead the way into the stretch with State Treasurer closing in and Clear Vision rallying wide into the win photo. Clear Vision prevailed in 1:50.3 with a :25.1 closing kick over Bettors Edge and State Treasurer. Modern Legend (James MacDonald) finished one length behind in fourth over Ellis Park (Steve Condren).

"With a five-horse field, I kind of assumed it would be slow fractions," said Miller following the race. "But honestly, Clear Vision, that's his strong suit. If you can sit in with him and really rate him, he can fly home. And he showed it tonight.

"I didn't see the three-quarter time. I knew we weren't going real fast, but as close as I was to the leader, I still was pretty confident because this horse kicks home very fast. Obviously, he's going into the final very sharp. Hopefully the trip works out."

The eight-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover surpassed the $2 million earnings mark with his 27th career win. Clear Vision is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, The Panhellenic Stable Corp. and James Koran.

Bedroomconfessions ($6.60) took the lead at the half and held off the pylon-skimming Bettor Be Steppin and slight favourite Shakai Hanover to win the first of three $35,000 Shes A Great Lady eliminations for two-year-old pacing fillies in a Canadian season's record of 1:52.

Corey Callahan hustled Bettor Be Steppin off the gate from post seven and led the field of fillies to the first quarter mark in :26.3. Shakai Hanover (Jody Jamieson) then tipped out from fourth as they entered the backstretch and rushed by the early speedster with Bedroomconfessions and Scott Zeron hot on her heels.

Bedroomconfessions took over command at the :55.4 midway point and drove on to three-quarters in 1:24.3 with Aria Hanover (Tim Tetrick) advancing first over.

Down the stretch, Bedroomconfessions was attacked on both sides with Bettor Be Steppin coming through along the pylons and Shakai Hanover moving to the outside, but she held those fillies off for the career-best victory by a quarter-length. Kays Dragon Lady (Matt Kakaley) was fourth-placed-fifth after a lapped on break in the stretch, with Palette Tina (Yannick Gingras) inheriting fourth.

"I was really happy with the effort," said trainer Tony Alagna after the race. "Scott said he didn't want to have to use her that hard up the backside, but he had to go when Jody went and he said that was the strongest she's ever been and he was really, really happy with her tonight."

Bedroomconfessions now has two wins and three seconds in six career starts and earnings of $53,486.

"She's a really big filly and mid-season she kind of took a little bit of a growing spurt," noted Alagna. "She just gets a little bigger and a little stronger all the time and I think her best days are ahead of her."

The homebred American Ideal filly is the first foal out of Turnoffthelights, a mare picked out by owner Riverview Racing LLC's Myron Bell. She is also bred and co-owned by Alagna Racing LLC.

Undefeated filly JK Shesalady ($2.40) lowered the Canadian season's record to 1:51.1 with a wide open victory in the second Shes A Great Lady elimination.

Well Hello There (Matt Kakaley) established the lead from post six over Cashaway (Tim Tetrick) into a :26.4 opening panel and continued to lead the way to the half in :56.

At the midway mark, Divine Caroline (Corey Callahan) moved first up from third with 1-5 favourite JK Shesalady and Yannick Gingras following. However, as he did one week ago in the Eternal Camnation Stakes, Gingras sent his filly three-deep and raced to the lead near the third quarter station, which was reached in 1:24.1.

JK Shesalady then sped away from her foes down the stretch to win by seven and a half lengths in a new lifetime mark. Divine Caroline finished second and Solar Sister (Doug McNair) came in third over Cashaway.

Owned and bred by the 3 Brothers Stables, the Art Major-Presidential Lady filly, a full-sister to North America Cup champion JK Endofanera, is now five-for-five with $88,425 earned in purses.

"She just goes out there and does her work," said trainer Nancy Johansson from the winner's circle. "She has tremendous determination, which you can obviously see on the track and she just loves what she does."

Gingras returned to capture the final Shes A Great Lady elimination with another undefeated filly, Band Of Angels ($3), giving him a tough decision on which one to drive in next week's final.

Band Of Angels swept up from third to take over the lead from Macarena Mama (Chris Christoforou) after a :26.3 first quarter. The 1-2 favourite reached the half in :55.4 and raced by three-quarters in 1:24.4 while opening up three lengths on top. She continued to extend her leading margin down the stretch and hit the wire in a career-best 1:51.3 with her closest competitor five lengths behind. Happy Becky (Dave Miller) was the runner-up after rallying around Betty And The Jets (Doug McNair), who was parked every step of the way. A Plus (Scott Zeron) came on for third with Dancin Caroll (Randy Waples) finishing fourth.

Ron Burke trains the Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again filly, a half-sister to millionaire mare Romantic Moment who was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale as a yearling by William Donovan.

Saturday's win was Band Of Angel's sixth in a row and first outside the New York Sire Stakes program. She now has a bankroll totalling $151,083.

"She has always been really good in New York," noted Gingras after the race. "She's done nothing wrong. She proved it tonight, she's top class filly."

Go Daddy Go ($6) captured the first of two $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations for two-year-old colts and geldings in a career-best 1:52.4 for the Hall of Fame duo of driver John Campbell and trainer Bob McIntosh.

Firing from post six, favourite Asap Hanover (Tim Tetrick) cleared insider Lyons Levis Lewis (Yannick Gingras) past the :26.1 quarter pole with outsider Sports Bettor (Randy Waples) parked and pressing. Sports Bettor took over command down the backstretch before Lyons Levi Lewis moved up to challenge and edged by at the half in :55.1. Meanwhile, Campbell moved Go Daddy Go underway from fifth with Trading Up (Scott Zeron) following his cover.

Lyons Levi Lewis continued to lead the field past three-quarters in 1:23.4 and into the stretch with Go Daddy Go eventually battling by in deep stretch. Lyons Levi Lewis finished just over one length behind with Lone Survivor (David Miller) closing from last at the third quarter mark to third. Dudes The Man (Ron Pierce) came on for fourth and Trading Up earned the final paycheque in fifth.

"He's raced in front a couple times, but he just doesn't pay attention as much as when he's coming at horses...This week I made a conscious effort to have him coming at horses and he responded well," said Campbell of his race strategy.

Go Daddy Go has never missed the board in seven races and boasts three victories, including his Battle Of Waterloo triumph on Aug. 4 at Grand River Raceway. Campbell reflected on the first time he drove the chestnut Ponder-Sanfrancine colt in his second start, an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event on Jul. 7 at Mohawk, noting that he raced well and has only improved since.

"He raced very well even though he was third that night," said Campbell. "He paced a big back half and he was still pacing at the wire. I told Bob at the time that I think he's got a future and he's stayed sound since that. He's actually gotten sounder and easier to drive since that.

"All of these races get tougher as you go along and next week is going to be an even bigger test," he noted.

Go Daddy Go is owned by breeder Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont. and Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ont.

Artspeak ($2.20) continued his undefeated win streak with a 1:51 Canadian season's record performance for two-year-old male pacers in the final Metro elimination.

Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) left from post six to lead the field past an opening panel of :27 and down the backstretch. After settling away fourth, driver Scott Zeron made his move with the heavy 1-9 favourite and Artspeak collared the early pacesetter at the :56.2 half-mile mark. Those two battled back and forth on top through three-quarters in 1:23.3 with Artspeak eventually drawing four and a half lengths clear on top for the career-best victory. Lyons Again stayed for second while Pierce Hanover (Paul MacDonell) finished back in third. Amora Beach (Tim Tetrick) and Traceur Hanover (Randy Waples) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

“He’s an absolute freak,” said Zeron of the Tony Alagna trainee. “I knew I wasn’t going to clear [before the three-quarters]. I needed maybe a fraction of an inch to do it and he wouldn't give it. So I just decided to sit with him and when we came off the top turn I chirped to him once and he was gone. I didn’t have to pull the plugs.

“He’s progressed amazingly. Tony did a great job starting him in New Jersey Sires Stakes so it was a little bit easier competition. We were able to race him off the pace and do it the right way, second-over trips, come :26 on the end. He showed us right off the bat he’s the real deal.”

Artspeak is now five-for-five with $136,462 earned in purses. The Western Ideal-The Art Museum colt is owned by breeders Brittany Farms and Toronto's Marvin Katz, along with partners Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners.

The weekly $34,000 Preferred Pace was won by Piston Broke ($9.20), with Gingras catch-driving for trainer Rob Fellows and his partners Willard Sabrosky and Arpad Szabo. Piston Broke took over command after a :26.3 first quarter and led the rest of the way past the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:22.3, closing out the 1:49 mile with a :26.2 final kicker. Dapper Dude (John Campbell) followed in second and favourite Odds On Equuleus (Tim Tetrick) finished third.

Here are the fields for next weekend's stakes finals. Elimination winners were able to choose their post positions.

$634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby
Post - Horse - Driver
1. Modern Legend – David Miller
2. Clear Vision – Brett Miller
3. Sweet Lou – Ron Pierce
4. Domethatagain – Tim Tetrick
5. Captive Audience – James MacDonald
6. State Treasurer – Chris Christoforou
7. Foiled Again – Yannick Gingras
8. Bettors Edge – Matt Kakaley
9. Thinking Out Loud – John Campbell
10. Ellis Park – Steve Condren
AE: Sunshine Beach – Chris Christoforou

$480,000 Shes A Great Lady
PP - Horse - Driver
1. Divine Caroline – Corey Callahan
2. Band Of Angels – Yannick Gingras
3. Jk Shesalady – Yannick Gingras
4. Bedroomconfessions – Scott Zeron
5. Solar Sister – Doug McNair
6. Happy Becky – David Miller
7. Bettor Be Steppin – Corey Callahan
8. Palette Tina – Randy Waples
9. Shakai Hanover – Jody Jamieson
10. A Plus – Scott Zeron
AE: Dancin Caroll – Randy Waples

$667,000 Metro Pace
PP - Horse - Driver
1.Dudes The Man - Ron Pierce
2. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell
3. Artspeak - Scott Zeron
4. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples
5. Trading Up - Scott Zeron
6. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras
7. Pierce Hanover - Paul MacDonell
8. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras
9. Lone Survivor - David Miller
10. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick
AE: Sports Bettor - Randy Waples​

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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