On Thursday, September 19 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, Canadian trainer Casie Coleman won the 2013 Little Brown Jug in straight heats with three-year-old gelding Vegas Vacation. The win was the second consecutive Little Brown Jug win for Coleman, a resident of Cambridge, Ont. who won the 2012 edition with Michaels Power.
After having won his $58,939 opening-heat elimination in 1:50, Vegas Vacation came back and also won the $265,224 second heat in a 1:50 clocking. Vegas Vacation’s mastery at the 2013 Little Brown Jug produced a new two-heat world record for geldings (3:40). The son of Bettors Delight is owned by the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont., Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ont., Anthony Beaton of Waterdown, Ont. and Phyllis Saunders of Hamilton, Ont.
Driver Brian Sears was the victorious reinsman aboard the New York-bred Vegas Vacation. The brown three-year-old started from Post 2 in the second heat and left well off the gate. He got away third and stalked for a short period of time as Urbanite Hanover (Yannick Gingras) was fastest off the switch and led the field past the opening quarter mile station in :26.3.
It was in the second quarter when Sears tipped Vegas Vacation for his first-over advance. Urbanite Hanover lead the field past the :54.2 half-mile marker with Vegas Vacation in hot pursuit. Vegas Vacation earned the lead near the vicinity of the 1:22 three-quarters pole. It was lights out from there, as Vegas Vacation kicked home with a 28-second final quarter-mile to win the 2013 Little Brown Jug in convincing fashion.
Urbanite Hanover, who is trained by John Williamson of Waterdown, Ont., finished second, while Lucan Hanover, who is also trained by Coleman, finished third for driver David Miller.
“This is amazing,” Vegas Vacation’s co-owner Adriano Sorella said succinctly during a post-race interview with announcer Roger Huston. The voice of the Little Brown Jug later asked Sorella if he thought the win was ever in doubt. Sorella didn’t mince words. “Never,” he said.
“If everything goes well, [Vegas Vacation is] going to come out of this and go to Lexington (The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky) in about 10 days – next Saturday. If he comes out of it (the Little Brown Jug) well, that is my plan next,” Coleman told Huston.
“He’s the type of horse that can win this race,” Sears said during his post-race interview. “He can come first over without a problem and he’s been getting stronger as the year progresses. He was coming into the race pretty well, so I was confident.”
Resistance Futile A 24-1 Upsetter In First Heat Of The LBJ (Race 15, $58,939)
The Blair Burgess-trained and Corey Callahan-driven Resistance Futile ($50.00) was a 24-1 upsetter in the third of the Little Brown Jug’s first-heat eliminations.
The bay Real Desire colt came first up on the leaders before the opening half and was able to eventually clear to the front and pace away from his combatants in an open-length, 1:49.3 win. The clocking, which was a North American season’s mark for the class over a half-mile track, was just one fifth of a second off the world record of 1:49.2 co-held by Somebeachsomewhere and Rock N Roll Heaven.
The Tim Tetrick-driven Odds On Equuleus (who finished second) and the Yannick Gingras-steered Sunfire Blue Chip (third) advanced to the second heat of the Little Brown Jug.
Sunfire Blue Chip fought for the lead early and put up early fractions of :26.2 and :55.2, but it was Resistance Futile who made a gutsy first-up move before the half. The move proved to be a winning one.
Still grinding away on the outside, Resistance Futile cleared to the lead after the 1:22.2 three-quarters pole and didn’t want to give up the lead. Callahan and his charge were on their game through the lane and were convincing winners over their five foes.
“He’s always been a very fast horse,” Burgess said afterward in the winner’s circle. “He’s had some bad luck. He makes the odd break the odd time, so we weren’t always sure about him, but he has always had extreme speed.”
“He had a lot of ‘go’ and I think he has more left,” Callahan said afterward.
Resistance Futile is owned by the Burgess Stable of Campbellville, Ont., the Champagne Stable of Toronto, Ont., James Walker of Port Perry, Ont. And Deo Volente Farms LLC of Flemington, New Jersey.
After the race, the post positions for the second heat were drawn. The field and post positions for the second heat appear below.
Little Brown Jug – Heat 2
1. Lucan Hanover - David Miller
2. Vegas Vacation - Brian Sears
3. Resistance Futile - Corey Callahan
4. Urbanite Hanover - Yannick Gingras
5. Right Touch - Ray Paver
6. Odds On Equuleus - Tim Tetrick
7. Emeritus Maximus - Scott Zeron
8. Wake Up Peter - Ron Pierce
9. Sunfire Blue Chip - Scratched
Lucan Hanover Wins His First Little Brown Jug Heat (Race 14, $58,939)
One race after stablemate Vegas Vacation equalled the world record with his win, Lucan Hanover ($6.40) broke it with an impressive 1:49.4 score in the second Little Brown Jug elimination.
Scott Zeron sent favoured Mach It So to the lead and after a brief challenge from Beach Memories, settled on top through a :26 opening panel and :54.2 half.
At that point, the battle was on as Emeritus Maximus (Tim Tetrick) came first up with Ilikeitrealhot (Matt Kakaley) on his helmet. Third over was Lucan Hanover, but that position was short-lived as David Miller launched him three-wide down the backstretch through the 1:22 three-quarter station.
Around the final turn, Lucan Hanover was too strong and powered past the pacesetter. At the head of the lane, Lucan Hanover pulled away to an open length win and tripped the timer in world record fashion.
"I tipped him [three-wide on the backstretch], popped his plugs, gave him a crack and he was gone," said Miller post-race. "He felt good following that cover and he had such a move around that turn."
"He's real good right now," said trainer Coleman. "He's a big horse, he just wasn't ready as a two-year-old."
When asked about whose chances Coleman liked better in the final, she noted that she wasn't happy with Vegas Vacation's gait in his elim and would be making a shoeing change heading into the second Jug heat.
Beach Memories finished second but was disqualified for interfering with Word Power around the final turn. That DQ bumped longshot Urbanite Hanover (Ron Pierce) from third to second and Emeritus Maximus (Tetrick) from fourth to third.
Lucan Hanover (Western Ideal - Lauren Order) is owned by Ontario-based West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Christine Calhoun of Chatham.
Vegas Vacation Captures His First Little Brown Jug Heat In 1:50 (Race 13, $58,939)
Vegas Vacation ($2.60) equalled the world record for three-year-old pacing geldings on a half-mile track when he won the first elimination of the first heat of the Little Brown Jug in 1:50.
The Casie Coleman-trained son of Bettors Delight left from Post 5 and got settled behind some early leavers. He ending up utilizing a three-deep move after the half.
Lonewolf Currier and driver Dave Palone cut the early fractions in a sizzling :25.2 and :53.3, but it was Vegas Vacation and driver Brian Sears that were on top by the time the three-quarters timer flashed to life in 1:21.4. The speedy brown gelding was all business once he had committed overland and was a composed winner through the lane.
Right Touch (Ray Paver) finished second and Wake Up Peter finished third. The top three finishers gain entrance to the second heat of the Little Brown Jug.
Both Sears and Coleman mentioned in post-race interviews that there were some anxious moments up the backside when Vegas Vacation made his move to the front.
“It was a little confusing down the backside,” said Sears. “Lonewolf Currier started to pull up -- it looked like to me -- down the backside. He was about three and a half wide and there was a little bit of confusion there for a second, but the horse has such a move that he was able to overcome it and pace around him.”
Vegas Vacation is owned by the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont., Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ont., Anthony Beaton of Waterdown, Ont. And Phyllis Saunders of Hamilton, Ont.
Pet Rock Sets Back-To-Back World Records In Ohio (Race 11, $51,250)
Ohio-based Pet Rock ($3.20) shattered the world record for the fastest mile ever paced on a half-mile track with a scintillating 1:48.1 score in the $51,250 Winbak Pace.
Clearing to the lead before allowing A Rocknroll Dance (Tim Tetrick) to cut the mile and carve out fractions of :26, :53.3 and 1:21, Miller right-lined his horse around the final turn and set up the historic slugfest. Pet Rock got up by a head to trip the timer and etch his name in harness racing history yet again.
"Having the post edge I was going to try to go down the road but nothing's for sure until the gate folds," driver David Miller said post-race. "If Tim would have backed it down, I would have retook."
When asked if he was ever concerned, Miller noted that he did lose some momentum with Pet Rock when he pulled the pocket, but hit another gear when he hit the straightaway.
Owned by Frank Bellino of New York and trained by Virgil Morgan, Pet Rock now boasts the fastest combined times of any horse - 1:47 on a one-mile, 1:47.2 on a five-eighths mile, 1:48.1 on a half-mile.
"He's proven he likes to do his work, said Morgan. "He doesn't have to have the lead, but here it's a huge advantage. When [David] turned Tim and [A Rocknroll Dance] loose, I was a bit concerned."
Morgan noted that Pet Rock would next race in Lexington before heading to the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The former half-mile track world record was 1:49, co-held by Jet Laag, Ponder, and Bolt The Duer.
1:51.4 World Record For Maven In Miss Versatility Final (Race 10, $125,000)
Four-year-old Glidemaster mare Maven ($6.80) put forth an absolutely stunning display in the $125,000 final of the Miss Versatility (Race 10), as the bay did all the work on the front end and hit the wire in a new world record clocking of 1:51.4.
With Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jonas Czernyson, Maven left alertly from Post 2 and sizzled to the quarter in :26.4. She did not relent through the middle panels, as she flew by the half in :55.4 and zipped by the three-quarters pole in 1:23.4. The mare kept her hoof on the pedal through the final quarter, as she trotted home in 28 seconds for the resounding 1:51.4 victory.
Bax Of Life (John Campbell) finished second and Daylon Miracle (Jody Jamieson) finished third. Personal Style and Dorsay made breaks early and were not a factor in the race.
“Today she (Maven) was razor-sharp and ready to go,” Czernyson said in the winner’s circle afterward. He went on to say that the mare will be heading down to Kentucky to the Red Mile.
“She was very sharp today, obviously. She did it really easily,” Gingras said afterward. “At the three-quarters I knew she was a winner.”
Dead Heat In Filly Division Of The Standardbred (Race 16, $50,143)
Sister Stroll and Lucys Pearl engaged in a heated battle during the final quarter of the mile and could not be separated at the wire in the $50,143 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old filly pacers.
The pair dead-heated for the win in 1:54.3, equalling the divisional North American season's record on a half-mile track set by Ideal Helen on September 7 at Freehold Raceway.
Leaving from the inside post position, Sister Stroll gave way to early leavers Fits Well and Davis Miller during the :28.2 opening quarter, but did not sit in the pocket long as Yannick Gingras rolled her to the lead as the field made their way in front of the grandstand. Sister Stroll hit the half in :57.3 while Lucys Pearl and driver Matt Kakaley began a first over attack from third. Lucys Pearl duelled with Sister Stroll past the 1:25.4 three-quarters mark and into the stretch, eventually hitting the wire together. Fits Well finished third.
High Bridge Gives Gingras Old Oaken Bucket Sweep (Race 6, $65,750)
High Bridge ($9.00) didn't care much for the public support of Spider Blue Chip and gave driver Yannick Gingras the sweep of the Old Oaken Bucket with a 1:55.1 score in the second division.
Favourite Spider Blue Chip (Ron Pierce) was strong on the gate and left strongly with it, but Gingras decided to make him work for the lead and parked Pierce through the opening turn. Heading into that first turn, Spider Blue Chip made a break and left Gingras and High Bridge uncontested on the lead through a :28.1 opening quarter with Boffin (Charlie Norris) in the pocket.
Pierce was able to gather up Spider Blue Chip and ended up being the first up challenger at the :57.1 half, eventually making it up to second by the 1:25.3 three-quarter marker. Around the final turn, High Bridge looked to pull clear as Spider Blue Chip began to fade and then broke stride again.
In the stretch, High Bridge was strong and showed no signs of slowing down, hitting the wire first in 1:55.1. Pocket-sitter Boffin stayed for second with Theatrical Session (David Miller) staying for third. Spider Blue Chip finished fifth but was placed sixth for violation of the breaking rule.
Jimmy Takter trains High Bridge, a son of Cantab Hall-Madame Volo for Christina Takter, John Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Jim Fielding. He's now 5-for-18 on the year and a winner of more than $250,000 on the season. Takter said after the race that the colt would head to the Bluegrass next Friday at The Red Mile.
World Record For On Golden Ponder In Division Of The Standardbred (Race 5, $52,544)
After a massive first-over brush, the John Campbell-driven and Bob McIntosh-trained On Golden Ponder ($8.80) soared to a romping 1:52.2 world-record performance in Race 5, a $52,544 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old pacing colts.
After having started from Post 5, Campbell allowed the son of Ponder to watch the action unfold from the four-hole. Hes Got It and driver David Miller had cut the early fractions in :26.2 and :55, but when Campbell called on his charge, On Golden Ponder felt like sparkling.
On Golden Ponder exited his hole with authority, and Campbell and the bay colt were in another gear after the three-quarters flashed to life in 1:23.4. The pair went on to win by many open lengths in 1:52.2. Totally Kissed finished second and Hes Got It finished third.
On Golden Ponder’s time lowered the former world record (1:52.4), which had been co-held by Mystic Desire and Cold Hearted Shark.
NA Season’s Mark For Vibe Blue Chip In First Old Oaken Bucket Division (Race 4, $65,750)
The Yannick Gingras-driven and Ron Burke-trained Vibe Blue Chip kicked off the heart of the stakes racing action on the Little Brown Jug Day undercard Thursday, September 19 at Ohio’s Delaware County Fair.
In Race 4, Vibe Blue Chip ($8.40) had his sights set on capturing the first $65,750 division of the Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old trotting colts, and the son of Andover Hall did not disappoint.
After having started from Post 3, Gingras slipped Vibe Blue Chip into the three-hole. After having sat through the opening fractions, (:27.2, :57.1) Gingras tipped his mount first-over on the tempo-setter (Bluto, driven by Andy Miller).
The pair of horses were battling by the time the three-quarters flashed up in 1:26, but it was all Vibe Blue Chip in the lane, as Gingras led him to a solid victory in 1:54.3. Bluto finished second and Sailer Eddie, driven by Ron Pierce, finished third.
Vibe Blue Chip’s 1:54.3 lowered the North American seasonal record for three-year-old trotting geldings over a half-mile track.
LITTLE BROWN JUG DAY UNDERCARD RECAP
McArdle gelding McAlvin ($4.40) kicked off the afternoon card by stepping to a game, wire-to-wire win in 1:53.3 for driver David Miller and trainer Robert Krenitsky Jr. during a $6,050 division of the Delaware Open Series for three-year-old pacing colts… three-year-old Feelin Friskie filly Igottafeelinfran ($3.20) dug in along the final turn and paced to a game win in 1:53 for driver Dan Noble and trainer Jim Daley during a $37,226 division of the Ohio Breeders Championships… Rocken Camnation ($5.50), a four-year-old gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the great Eternal Camnation, captured a $2,250 conditioned pace (Race 3) in 1:55.1 for driver Kayne Kauffman and trainer Jeff Miller… Cruzin Tothe Dance ($4.00) was sent of as the even-money favourite in the $3,000 seventh race and the four-year-old Yankee Cruiser mare didn’t disappoint, as she went on to record a 1:54.3 victory for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Virgil Morgan Jr… Powerful Odds ($22.20) swept the field in the lane in Race 8, a $2,250 conditioned event for pacers. The five-year-old gelded son of Powerful Toy was driven by his trainer, Mike Polhamus, to an impressive 1:54.4 victory… the Corey Callahan-driven and Jamie Coffy-trained Bourbon St Hanover ($3.40) closed in the late stages of Race 9, the $4,000 Signature Series, to post a 1:54.3 victory, which was his fourth win in a row... Race 12 featured a $41,076 division of the Ohio Breeders Championships, and That Friskie Feelin ($3.80) and driver Tony Hall were much the best for trainer Ron Burke, as the three-year-old gelding got the job done in 1:52.2... Fred And Ginger ($5.80) was parked almost every step of the mile but emerged a strong 1:51.4 winner for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke in Race 17, the $10,000 Won The West Open... And Well See Ya ($4.80) and trainer/driver Dan Noble held off a late-charging Noble Trick in a conditioned pace, clocking the mile in 1:54.2, to close out Jug Day 2013.
LITTLE BROWN JUG DAY MORNING CARD RECAP
The Kakaley-driven and Ron Potter-trained My One Tru Desire ($8.00) went wire-to-wire in Race 1 and hit the wire in 1:53.1. The dash was a $6,050 division of the Delaware Open Series for three-year-old pacing colts… Race 2 saw two-year-old pacing fillies take to the course for Delaware Open Series action, and Stirling Cordelia ($9.60) recorded a half-length, wire-to-wire win in 1:58.1 for driver Tyler Smith and trainer Tye Loy… the duo of driver Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller notched a victory in Race 3, a $51,944 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old trotting colts, as Sumatra ($2.30) clicked off a 1:58.3 win… the Delaware Open Series returned in Race 4 with a $7,500 division for two-year-old pacing colts. Ivan Bob ($3.00), driven by Dan Noble for trainer Patrick Medors, got the job done with a 1:56.3 performance.