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Pilgrims Taj Equals Meadows Record

Published: September 16, 2009 11:16 pm ET

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Pilgrims Taj spotted World Champion Correctamundo five lengths, then surged by him with an impressive uncovered move that carried him to victory in a Keystone Classic division Wednesday at The Meadows. The time of 1:55.2 equaled the track record and is the fastest mile this season by a freshman colt trotter on a 5/8-mile track.

The $124,000 event was contested over four divisions, with Kashs Caviar, MMs Lucky Boy and Plan B In HD taking the other splits.

Correctamundo trotted in 1:55, a world record for two-year-old geldings, August 13 at The Meadows. When he reached the half in a comfortable :58.3, it seemed that Pilgrims Taj would be hard pressed to catch him. But when Mike Lachance moved Pilgrims Taj from fourth, the son of Broadway Hall-BWT Maija cruised by effortlessly to defeat Correctamundo by two lengths. Hard Livin was third.

The time equaled both the track and stake record established last year by Keystone Activator.

“I knew they were going slow, but I have a lot of confidence in him,” Lachance said. “I knew he would get there in the end. It’s not that he can’t leave the gate, but if it’s possible, we’d like to race him from off the gate this year and let him come at the end.”

Monte Gelrod trains Pilgrims Taj, who finished second in the finals of the Valley Victory and the Peter Haughton, for the partnership of Robert Bongiorno, Peter Heffering, Bix Di Meo and Val D’Or Farms.

Kashs Caviar was buried on the pylons at the top of the stretch, four lengths in arrears, with no more than a minor award apparently within reach. But when the “Lightning Lane” opened for him, he poured through to score in 1:58, 1-1/4 lengths better than Scent Of Oil. Early leader Freedom Ridge saved show.

“I was hoping to get a check; that’s why I stayed close to the rail,” said winning driver Chip Noble. “Fortunately, it all worked out. He’s been improving. He’s had soreness issues, and sometimes we haven’t been able to use him the way we wanted to. But he’s been getting stronger all year.”

Danny Collins trains Kashs Caviar, a gelded homebred son of SJs Caviar-OCala Kash, for Slaughter Racing Stable and Wayne Zollars.

MMs Lucky Boy needed seven races to break his maiden, but now has ripped off three straight following his victory for Eric Ledford in 1:59.1. Tough Call was 3-1/2 lengths back in second, with Warrawee Lucky third.

“He was awhile maturing, I guess is the word,” said trainer Roland Mallar. “Not that he’s hot or stupid, but just typical two-year-old ‘playboy’ type things. He’s finally figured it out, or at least I like to think he has. I was going to stop with him a couple months ago, but we knew this race was coming up, so we thought we’d try him. Glad we did.”

Lindwood Farm owns the gelded son of Malabar Millennium-American Leggs.

When two-year-old Jonesie Hanover broke his maiden in Wednesday's ninth race, it completed a consecutive-day Pick 3 of sorts for Hanover Shoe Farms’ Murray Brown, who co-owns three horses named for his grandchildren — Juansteen Hodur, Annika Zitto and Jones Hodur. All three horses won this week at The Meadows — Up Front Annika on Monday, Up Front Juansteen on Tuesday. Brown has one more grandchild to honour.

(The Meadows)

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