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Limelight Beach Wins Jug

Published: September 18, 2014 10:55 am ET

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Three-year-old pacing gelding Limelight Beach won the 2014 Little Brown Jug in straight heats at Ohio’s Delaware County Fair on Thursday, September 18, giving North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke, his first career Jug win.

The attendance at the fair was 44,101 on Thursday, and those in attendance saw Limelight Beach win the 69th edition of the Jug, presented by Fazoli's, in straight heats. The son of Somebeachsomewhere had won his $103,600 opening-heat elimination in 1:51, and he followed it up by tallying a 1:50.4 victory in the $310,800 final.

Bred by Gregory Martin of Calgary, Alberta, Limelight Beach was a $25,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase in 2012. Ron Burke and his co-owners recently purchased the speedy pacer in order to race in July’s Delvin Miller Adios at the Meadows. The buy has proven to offer so much more.

"He was eligible to the Adios. That was the reason we bought him,” Burke said in the winner’s circle. “We bought him based on the Adios, and that didn't work out, so from there we moved on. This was Wingfield's dream, and our dream, and Mark, and so it was awesome for all of us."

Gingras and Limelight Beach lined up in Post 1 in the Jug final and led the field to the opening quarter in :27.4 and on to the half in :55.2 without any serious threats from the field. Beat The Drum (driven by Ron Pierce) was first to move from mid-pack in the second quarter. The Casie Coleman-trained McWicked (David Miller) was also racing overland from the backfield in the third quarter, but was not able to pose a serious threat to Limelight Beach, who was able to rate a soft middle half and click off three quarters in 1:23.

Gingras had fellow elimination winner Lets Drink On It – who was loaded with pace – locked in behind him. Twenty-one-year-old driver Tyler Smith, who was steering Lets Drink On It, was unable to find racing room and had to settle for a second-place finish in what was the most sentimental race of his career. Somewhere In L A (Brett Miller) had mounted a late bid off the final turn, but was unable to get up and had to settle for third. At Press Time (Matt Kakaley) finished fourth and McWicked finished fifth.

Speaking of how he went from the agony of defeat – with the untimely break of Lyonssomewhere in the opening heat – to winning the final with Limelight Beach, Gingras had praise for both his charges.

"I thought I had two really good chances here today,” he said. “If you had asked me before the start which one I liked best, I would have definitely said Lyonssomewhere. Nothing against this horse (Limelight Beach), but this horse came up huge today. He went two big heats and we kind of got lucky a little bit in the first heat, there was a seat in there and I was able to take it. But he came back in the second heat and he was scary. He had plenty left.

Limelight Beach, who has now won eight of his 24 career races, is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and the M1 Stable LLC (all from Pennsylvania), along with the Wingfield Brothers of Kenton, Ohio, who stayed on as co-owners after the July sale of the horse.

"We just had too much fun with him last year and we stayed for this race right here,” said co-owner Charlie Wingfield. “It's amazing, I can't believe it."

In terms of what is next on Limelight Beach’s dance card, Burke said that the gelding will be headed to the heralded clay track at Lexington’s Red Mile. "Lexington,” Burke said. “We'll go on from there and just move on and hopefully just keep him going now."


Little Brown Jug (Opening-Heat Eliminations)


Twenty-one-year-old driver Tyler Smith stepped up in the first opening-heat elimination of the Little Brown Jug, as he closed hard late with Lets Drink On It and nailed the wire first in 1:51.

Coming from the backfield, Smith worked out an overland trip in the middle half of the race before tipping three-wide. The pair tipped three-deep and blew past the first-over Beat The Drum (Ron Pierce) on the final turn. Smith and Lets Drink On It then briefly skirmished with the pacesetter – the Yannick Gingras-driven Lyonssomewhere – before Lyonssomewhere broke stride. From there, Smith kept Lets Drink On It on his business and held off At Press Time (Matt Kakaley) at the wire.

The fractions in the race were recorded in :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23.

At Press Time finished second. Beat The Drum finished third. On Golden Ponder (John Campbell) finished fourth. The top four finishers in the race advanced to the second heat of the Little Brown Jug.

The win was huge for Smith, an Ohio native that has been a fixture at the Delaware County Fair for years. Smith actually announced a race at the fair as a 10-year-old.

“He was good,” Smith said about Lets Drink On It, who is trained by Joe Seekman. “Everyone said ‘protect the rail,’ but he really doesn’t have a lot of gate speed.”

Smith went on to say, “I was able to cross over on the last turn… I’m not saying we were going to beat Yannick (if Lyonssomewhere didn’t break stride), but we were going to give him a good run.”

Espousing his love for the Little Brown Jug, Smith said “it would mean the world” to win the Jug, adding “I would give back all the races I’ve won to win the Jug.”

Limelight Beach picked the perfect time to put together his first winning performance of the year in the second elimination heat of the Little Brown Jug for trainer Ron Burke.

With the inside advantage, McWicked (David Miller) out-sprinted Limelight Beach and driver Yannick Gingras off the gate and had the field, which was scratched down to seven starters with Cammikey sick, lined up in post position order through a 27-second opening quarter.

As he led the way through middle splits of :55.2 and 1:22.4, Somewhere In L A (Brett Miller) moved first up from fifth and inched closer and closer to the leader.

McWicked and Somewhere In L A squared off in the stretch, but Gingras fanned Limelight Beach three-wide after a pocket trip and edged out his inside rivals for the 1:51 triumph, a national season's record. Somewhere In L A finished second. Favourite McWicked settled for third for trainer Casie Coleman, who is looking to become the first trainer in harness racing history to win three straight editions of the Little Brown Jug. Sometimes Said (John Campbell) finished fourth and will also advance to the second heat.

"Everybody has seen what a great trainer Brian [Brown] is this week and we're just reaping the rewards from his work," noted Burke of the Ohio conditioner who developed Limelight Beach. "The horse was good today. He seemed like he liked it here. We trained him here Monday and hopefully we can get a little luck in the draw and be okay in the final."

The Somebeachsomewhere-Benear gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable LLC and the Wingfield Brothers.

"We've won two Jugettes and we appreciated that," said Burke. "This would be the first time for us [to win the Little Brown Jug] and hopefully we can get this done."

The field for the Little Brown Jug final is listed below.

1. Limelight Beach (Gingras)
2. Lets Drink On It (Smith)
3. Somewhere In L A (Br. Miller)
4. At Press Time (Kakaley)
5. Beat The Drum (Pierce)
6. McWicked (Da. Miller)
7. Sometimes Said (Tetrick)
8. On Golden Ponder (Campbell)


MISS VERSATILITY FINAL


Classic Martine went wire-to-wire in the $121,500 final of the Miss Versatility Trotting Series final, holding off a a talented field of older mares in 1:54.1, equalling a national season's record.

Leaving from the inside post position, Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick led the way through fractions of :27.3, :57 and 1:25.1 with Maven (Yannick Gingras) on her back.

Things got interesting as Ma Chere Hall (David Miller) applied first over pressure before favourite Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) surged three-wide turning for home with Charmed Life (Brett Miller) fanning out even wider.

However, Classic Martine persevered at the finish line, winning for the ninth time in 13 starts this year. Charmed Life kicked home to secure the runner-up honours while Maven slipped up the pylons to finish third. Bee A Magician was fourth.

"She raced really well. She's a very gifted mare, she's had a great year. Last week at Chester is wasn't all her fault -- eight-hole blues -- and she got really roughed up, but she bounced back quick," said Tetrick, referring to Classic Martine's first out-of-the-money performance this season on Sept. 11 at Harrah's Philadelphia.

"I think everyone knows my mare can leave like a runner," he added. "She's real good on her feet, she's really quick off the wings and it would take somebody to really bust out of there to beat her off the wings today."

The four-year-old daughter of Classic Photo out of Drinking Days, who was also a winner in the first two legs of the series at Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks, is trained by Chris Oakes for Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Edwin Gold.

She now has 21 wins in for 40 starts lifetime with earnings climbing over $860,000.


THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET


Brian Sears hadn't been in Delaware long, and his impact was immediately felt by guiding Sumatra to a 19-1 upset in the $118,300 Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old trotters.

Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) used his rail position to get command early and out favoured Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) in the pocket. Charging three wide into the first turn was Skates N Plates (Yannick Gingras) and that trotter was in command by the :28 opening quarter.

Sumatra was out and stalking the leader early, keeping Datsyuk pinned on the pylons and out of the flow as five horses of the ten-horse field were racing parked out. The half was reached in :56.4 with Sumatra still grinding away on the outside. The race started to heat up on the backstretch with Well Built (John Campbell) starting a three-wide blitz as the field past three-quarters in 1:26. Sumatra was finally able to put away Skates N Plates and opened up a bit of room on the field before hitting the the stretch and trotting home strong enough to trip the timer in 1:56.1.

"My horse doesn't have the handiest speed in the world but he's honest and he tries real hard," said Sears post-race. "On the front end, that horse of Trond's, I know he can get a little soft later in the mile. My horse was able to get by him going into the last turn so that made the race for him."

Datsyuk stick-handled through traffic to nab the runner-up spot over a hard-closing Il Sogno Dream (Aaron Merriman)

It was just the second win of the season for Sumatra (Muscles Yankee - Lola Seelster), trained by Tom Fanning for Joseph Smith of Vero Beach, Florida.


THE STANDARDBRED


The first of three divisions of The Standardbred for two-year-olds kicked off in Race 5, and the Jimmy Takter-trained and Yannick Gingras-driven Pinkman bested a field of six rivals in what was his second career start, as he trotted to a 1:57 win from the pocket. After having starting from Post 3, the Explosive Matter colt trotted into the two-hole and stayed there as Crazy Wow (Dan Rawlings) cut the fractions in :29.4, :59.3 and 1:28.4. Gingras pulled Pinkman out in the lane and trotted on by Crazy Wow, who finished second. Ralph R (Tim Tetrick) finished third. Pinkman returned $12.00 to win.

Lost For Words and driver David Miller played possum in the two-hole during the $58,045 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old pacing colts (Race 13), as the duo popped the pocket in the lane and jetted to a handy 1:54.3 victory. UF Larry Alltheway (Dave Palone) had cut all the fractions (:27.3, :57.1, 1:26), but gave it up in the lane after Miller and his charge, a son of Jug winner Well Said, stepped on the gas. UF Larry Alltheway finished second and Talking Points (Tim Tetrick) finished third. Lost For Words, who is trained by Brian Brown, paid $3.40 to win.

Doctor Terror and driver Yannick Gingras earned Ontario-based trainer Blake MacIntosh a win in Race 16, a $51,000 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old pacing fillies, when the Western Terror bay closed in the late-going to notch a sharp score in a mark-equalling 1:54.4. Hillarys Style (David Miller) and Alexa Said (Brett Miller) rounded out the top three, respectively.


OHIO BREEDERS CHAMPIONSHIPS


The second dash of the three-race morning card saw the Steven Carter-trained and Chris Page-driven Crown Time Keeper win an Ohio Breeders Championship division for three-year-old pacing fillies in 1:56.4. The daughter of Feelin Friskie, who was sent off at odds of 2-5, utilized a quarter-pole move after the :28.2 opening panel and rated a one-minute middle half before holding off the field. Shakin Friskie (Dan Noble) finished second and Paydaze On The Way (Matt Kakaley) finished third.

The second OBC division kicked off the main card, and the Doug Hinklin-trained and Greg Grismore-driven A P P Panda closed hard from the backfield to score a 1:58 victory at enticing odds. The winner, a three-year-old son of Feelin Friskie, returned $56.20 to win. Rosy Fire (Dan Noble) finished second and God Only Knows (Jeremy Smith) finished third.

Driver Matt Kakaley uncorked a big three-wide move in Race 10 – an OBC division for three-year-old pacing colts – and went on to post an impressive score with Diamondkeeper in 1:55. After having started from Post 7 and sitting off the early tempo, Kakaley pulled the son of Pine Valley three wide after the 57-second half-mile pole. The duo cleared to the lead before the 1:26.1 three-quarters pole and jogged the rest of the way, besting Hawks Cry Hoboken (Brett Miller) who finished second and UF Fast Feelin (Dan Noble) who finished third. Diamondkeeper, a student of trainer Ron Burke, returned $3.80 on a successful win wager.

OBC action continued in Race 12, as the three-year-old pacing colts faced the gate in search of the winner’s share of a $29,617 purse. The Virgil Morgan Jr.-trained and Josh Sutton-driven Feel The Heat was right up on his game, as the Feelin Friskie gelding wired the field from Post 2 and stopped the clock in a lifetime-best 1:52.4. Feel The Heat was pressured by Big Bossman for the majority of the mile, but was able to repel his foe with a quick and sustained turn of foot. Big Bossman finished second and Dibs finished third. Feel The Heat returned $5.60 on a successful win ticket.


DELAWARE OPEN SERIES


The Delaware Open Series splits kicked off in Race 2, and two-year-old Somebeachsomewhere colt Rise Up Now produced a maiden-breaking win in 1:54.3 for trainer Brian Brown and driver Tim Tetrick. The bay fired first-up after the :56.1 opening half, led the field past the 1:25.3 three-quarters pole, and held off second-place finisher Indiana Cam (Ron Pierce) and McJet (Dan Noble) in the lane. Rise Up Now, who was a $40,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase, returned $6.00 to win.

Delaware Open Series action continued in Race 4, and it was two-year-old Real Desire gelding Indy Ingot who got the job done in a maiden-breaking 1:55.2. The Jeff Smith trainee made a move to the lead for driver Tyler Smith after the :56.4 opening half where leader Rocknalltheway (Chris Page) made a break while on the engine. Indy Ingot zipped to the lead, clicked off three quarters in 1:26.1 and bested Bee Happy Dan (David Miller) who finished second. Kings Beach (Yannick Gingras) finished third. Indy Ingot pleased his backers with a $22.80 win return.

Race 6 was the third division of the Delaware Open Series, and the Aaron Merriman-driven Dragons Successor rallied to defeat a field of fellow three-year-old male pacers after having broken stride off the gate. The gelded son of Dragon Again was last headed in to the first turn after his break, but his fortunes turned later as the field headed into the home stretch. The leader, Ivan Bob (Jeremy Smith), blew the turn and went on the run off the final bend. Merriman and the Brian Brown-trained Dragons Successor found themselves in the right place at the right time, as the duo fired home for the 1:55.1 tally over Bye Bye Metro (Dan Noble), who finished second. Sports Sinner (David Miller) finished third. Dragons Successor paid $4.40 to win.

Race 7, a Delaware Open Series split for two-year-old pacing fillies, was reduced to a three-horse dash after four entrants scratched out of the event. Nevertheless, the three-horse tilt proved to be relatively interesting, as Terracotta Hanover nipped Satin Shooter (David Miller) by a nose at the wire in the 1:57.2 mile, which went down as a lifetime mark for the Dragon Again lass. Terracotta Hanover sat last as Satin Shooter cut the fractions in :29, :58.1 and 1:27.1, but she got up when it mattered most. Trained by Steve Carter and driven by Chris Page, Terracotta Hanover returned $3.60 on a successful win wager.


SIGNATURE SERIES


The third dash of the three-race morning card was the final of the Signature Series, and the Jeff Nisonger-trained and Yannick Gingras-driven I Like It Hot held off Stand Tall (David Miller) at the wire to post the victory in 1:54.4. Charleysfastcat (Chad Clark) finished third. I Like It Hot, a seven-year-old gelded son of Blissfull Hall, returned $4.80 to win.



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