Michaels Power Wins The 2012 Little Brown Jug

Published: September 20, 2012 12:31 pm EDT

Twenty-three-year-old Oakville, Ontario resident Scott Zeron notched what may be the biggest win of his burgeoning career Thursday, September 20 at the Delaware Ohio County Fair when he piloted the Casie Coleman-trained Michaels Power to an authoritative victory in the $331,534 second heat of the prestigious Little Brown Jug for three-year-old pacing colts.

The 1:50, gate-to-wire win by Michaels Power, a gelded son of Ontario sire Camluck, was also huge for trainer Coleman, a resident of Cambridge, Ont. who recorded her first-ever win in the Little Brown Jug, a race that she has been coveting her entire life.

The win was also the third Little Brown Jug victory for owner Jeffrey Snyder of New York, NY, who noted afterward in the winner's circle that the moment was "just as exciting as the first time we were here." Michaels Power is also a Snyder homebred, which makes the occasion all the much sweeter for the connections.

After hitting the wire first and displaying the emotion of the moment via multiple fist-pumps, Zeron took Michaels Power for a slow tour around the fabled half-mile course before returning to the winner's circle, where a throng of jubilant supporters anxiously awaited.

"I can't believe I just won the Little Brown Jug," an excited and humbled Zeron told track announcer Roger Huston. Echoing the same sentiments as Zeron, Coleman then praised the history, excitement and purity of what the Little Brown Jug is and what it means to harness racing and horse racing overall.

"I've been watching the Little Brown Jug since I was a little kid," Coleman told Huston. "Just being here is an honour, let alone winning it --- it's just a dream. The Little Brown Jug is awesome!"

After having won his first-heat elimination from the pocket, Zeron was looking for the lead early in the second heat. Michaels Power drew the rail for the second heat, with Sweet Lou, the other opening-heat winner, starting from Post 2.

Timing the gate perfectly and asking his mount for all he had, Zeron quickly had Michaels Power in top gear right off the get-go. With Sweet Lou (driven by Dave Palone) and A Rocknroll Dance (Yannick Gingras) also leaving full-tilt, Michaels Power raced like a champion along the inside, not willing to give an inch in the critical opening stages.

Michaels Power was rolling on the inside when Gingras attempted to wrestle the lead from Zeron and cross over in front of him. Zeron responded by putting the whip up, and Michaels Power just dug in deeper. Continuing his torrid clip, Michaels Power repelled the bid by A Rocknroll Dance and went on to equal the Little Brown Jug record for the fastest opening quarter, :25.2.

"I wanted to be right down the road," Zeron explained after the ultra aggressive move proved to be the key to the race. "Twenty five and two (the hot :25.2 opening quarter time) scared me, but he's a sweetheart and quite a professional."

After having thrown down the gauntlet in the early going, the field allowed Zeron and Michaels Power to continue to roll right down to the opening half-mile marker, which the duo clicked off in 54 seconds. It was at that point when outer flow began to bubble up somewhat. Driver David Miller tipped his mount, Bettors Edge, out from third, which led to Milton, Ontario's Randy Waples preparing to make a move from the backfield with Pepsi North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud.

Cranking the tempo back up in the third quarter, Zeron and Michaels Power threw a 28-second panel at their rivals who were trying their hardest to catch up. The attackers were narrowing Zeron's lead by the time the three-quarters timer was tripped in 1:22, but Michaels Power still had more up his sleeve.

With the wire just a quarter-mile away, Zeron began to urge his mount to sustain his momentum, and the gelding was more than up for the task. Sweet Lou, who took a rail-skimming trip, dug in late to the inside of Michaels Power and ended up finishing second. Bettor Edge, who had been racing first over, was still right on the bit at the end, but just couldn't collar Michaels Power. Waples and Thinking Out Loud, trained by Windsor, Ontario's Bob McIntosh, had come three-wide off the final turn, fought gamely and finished fourth, not a being able to overcome the 2012 Jug winner.

The time of the mile also established a new world record for a three-year-old pacing gelding on a half-mile track.

Race 14 - Little Brown Jug (3yoCp - Heat 1 - Division 2 - $78,008) - Sweet Lou - 1:51

Trainer Ron Burke called his shot earlier this week, saying he was going gate to wire with Sweet Lou in his Little Brown Jug elimination. One minute and 51 seconds after the race finished, his words rang true.

The race began as everyone predicted: Sweet Lou and A Rocknroll Dance gunning for the lead. Gingras decided to tuck into third and not press the pace, sitting behind pocket sitter Bettors Edge (driven by David Miller). Sweet Lou fronted the field through the opening panel of :27 but the pressure wans't off for long. John Campbell flushed A Rocknroll Dance out of third and into first-over position before the three-eighths marker.

The half-mile point was reached in :55.4 with A Rocknroll Dance stalking the leader from first up and Bettors Edge in the pocket. Down the backstretch, the plugs were out on Sweet Lou and A Rocknroll Dance advanced. Bettors Edge tipped to the outside as Dapper Dude gappend the cover, allowing Simply Business (Ron Pierce) to scoot up the rail and gain position.

Around the final turn, Miller tipped three-wide and launched a fierce stretch kick. Palone asked Sweet Lou to respond and hit the wire first, and by a neck they did over a hard-closing Bettors Edge with A Rocknroll Dance just holding off Simply Business for third.

"Yeah, I didn't want to disappoint the boss," said driver Dave Palone on Burke's prophetic statement on the race earlier this week. "When I heard Yannick took a seat I just backed him up."

Palone went on to say that given the expectations for Sweet Lou this year that 2012 has "been the most disapponting year as a driver, I'd love to send everyone home hapy for once.

"I think [the final's] going to be an interesting race."

Sweet Lou is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, Penn. Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Penn., Lawrence Karr of Randolph, N.J. and Phillip Collura of Carteret, N.J. The two-year-old divisional champion stateside is now seven-for-12 on the season.

Here's how the field lines up for the second heat of the 2012 Little Brown Jug.

1. Michaels Power (S. Zeron)
2. Sweet Lou (D. Palone)
3. Bolt The Duer (SCRATCHED)
4. Bettors Edge (D. Miller)
5. Escape The News (T. Tetrick)
6. A Rocknroll Dance (Y. Gingras)
7. Simply Business (R. Pierce)
8. Thinking Out Loud (R. Waples)

Race 13 - Little Brown Jug (3yoCp - Heat 1 - Division 1 - $78,008) - Michaels Power - 1:52.3

Utilizing a ground-saving trip and capitalizing on some timely racing luck, the Casie Coleman-trained and Scott Zeron-driven Camluck gelding Michaels Power got up and hauled down the the pacesetting Bolt The Duer in capturing the $78,008 first division of the first heat of the Little Brown Jug in 1:52.3.

Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) finished second. Escape The News (Tim Tetrick) converted a cone-skimming trip into a third-place finish. Pepsi North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud (Randy Waples) closed hard and wide from the backfield to finish fourth and also advance to the second heat.

"I barely squeaked out on the last turn and I'm glad that I did because I think Casie would've killed me," Zeron said during a winner's circle interview afterward.

Michaels Power, Bolt The Duer and Time To Roll all fired off the gate when the wings folded. Zeron appeared to have the engine early, but it was MacDonald with Bolt The Duer that put forth a quarter pole move and cleared to the lead around the vicinity of the 26-second quarter pole.

MacDonald was able to get a big 30-second breather during the second panel. It was at the 56-second half-mile pole when Time To Roll (Jimmy Takter) initiated the flow by coming first over from the backfield.

The action had definitely heated up before and after the 1:24.3 three-quarters pole. Bolt The Duer was doing work on the lead, but Time To Roll was threatening first over and Major Bombay was primed in the second over slot. Although he was not in the greatest of spots to make a bid for the wire, Waples had Thinking Out Loud out wide and gunning, making the stretch showdown more than exciting.

Although it looked like a handful of others would be the one to surpass Bolt The Duer, Zeron slipped out, cranked it up a notch and was a well-timed winner in 1:52.3.

"I have a lot of respect for Bolt The Duer, and I was thinking that if he had the two hole he would be taking a big run at me late, so I had no problem letting him go to the lead early and sitting in the two hole," explained Zeron, the well-seasoned 23-year-old resident of Oakville, Ont.

"I only really had to use him down the lane, so I think he'll have a lot left for the final."

Race 17 – Winbak Pace (Aged Pacers - $40,200) – Rockincam – 1:50

Rockincam had no trouble with his eight foes in the $40,200 Winbak Pace, using a :54.2 back half to take the winner's share of the purse in a national season's mark of 1:50.

Valentino (Gingras) was sent off at 35-1 but he shot like a rocket to the front from Post 7. Favoured Rockincam (Jim Morrill, Jr.) was content to let the longshot take the lead before making his bid for the front down the backstretch. In a matter of strides, Rockincam made the front through a :27.4 opening quarter. The race was never in doubt after that as Morrill rolled Rockincam through fractions of :55.3 to the half and 1:23 for three-quarters before opening up daylight on the field. Rockincam tripped the timer in 1:50, some four lengths to the good over Something For Doc (David Miller) and Nob Hill High (Ron Pierce).

"I like him every time I drive him. He's a class act, makes your job easy," said Morrill in the winner's circle.

Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman noted that the five-year-old son of Cambest-Migraine is now headed to Canada to race in the open ranks for owner Stephen Farrell of Ocala, Florida.

"This is the first time on a half and the first time on the front in a while. I think this bravened him up."

Race 16 - Ms Versatility (Mare Trot - $153,000) - Frenchfrysnvinegar - 1:54

After timing the starting gate perfectly and instantly putting the rest of the field at what would prove to be an insurmountable disadvantage, driver Jody Jamieson and the Jeff Gillis-trained Frenchfrysnvinegar laid over the field of the $153,000 Ms Versatility for aged trotting mares.

Shrugging off their Post 7 start, Jamieson and the seven-year-old Angus Hall mare kicked in the jets early and almost instantly crossed over the racetrack down to the pylons. What made things even worse for the competition was that the rail horse, Magic Wheel, broke stride while heading into the opening turn, which allowed Jamieson and Frenchfrysnvinegar to cruise to the lead and instantly open up lengths on the field.

Frenchfrysnvinegar cut the opening quarter and half in :28 and :57.3, respectively, before Unefoisdansmavie (Yannick Gingras) came calling from third with a first-over bid in the vicinity of the three-quarters pole (1:25.2). Gingras' mount could not sustain her attack and started to go backward while overland, allowing Jamieson and Frenchfrysnvinegar to essentially cruise the rest of the way.

Coming home with a :28.3 final quarter, Frenchfrysnvinegar ($7.60) was a much-the-best winner for Gillis, Jamieson and company. The mare recorded her 29th career victory with the mile and pushed her overall earnings past the $900,000 mark.

"She wanted to get it over and done with in a hurry, and she did just that," Jamieson said afterward in a post-race interview.

Pantholops (David Miller) rounded out the exactor, while Cedar Dove (Ron Pierce) was the final piece to the triactor puzzle.

Race 15 – Ohio Breeders Championship (3yoFp - $27,000) – Special Lady D - 1:56.2

Fresh off her win in the $100,000 Ohio Sires Stakes final at Scioto Downs on September 8, Special Lady D extended her winning streak to three-in-a-row thanks to a front-stepping score in the $27,000 Ohio Breeders Championship for driver Ryan Stahl.

The daughter of Stand Forever-Grey Lady marched to the lead from Post 3 and successfully whacked out panels of :27.2, :57.1 and 1:27 before scooting home in :29.2 to seal the deal in 1:56.2. Forever Lover was next best, with Letsgoalltheway taking home the show dough.

Brian Brown trains the 11-time winner for the Ohio partnership of Country Club Acres Inc, Daniel Wozniak and William Robinson. The victory improved the pacer’s seasonal record to 7-1-3 from 15 starts while pushing her lifetime earnings to $171,004.

Race 11 - Old Oaken Bucket (3yoCt - $125,800) - Prayer Session - 1:54

Prayer Session used his gate speed to his advantage, going gate-to-wire to win the $125,800 Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old colts & geldings.

With Dave Magee at the lines, Prayer Session only had one horse to beat to his inside as One In A Million ran early. Like a rocket, Prayer Session found the front end early and controlled the tempo through opening splits of :28 and :56.4.

Say Its True (Dan Noble) right-lined from fourth, giving co-favourite Fusion Man (Tyler Smith) cover into the back half. As the three-quarters flashed up in 1:25.2, Fusion Man tipped three-wide to attack pacesetter Prayer Session, still strong on the front and showing no signs of slowing down. Magee kept his colt on task down the stretch as Prayer Session hit the wire by two lengths in 1:54, a national season's mark for sophomore trotting geldings. Fusion Man stayed for second with Can Do (Ray Paver) grabbing show dough.

"We knew he was going to be a nice horse last year and we're tickled to death with him," said trainer Bobby Brower after the win. "He's a good gaited horse, he's honest, it's the first time we've raced on a half."

Clearly not needed to take his track with him, Brower noted that Prayer Session would next race in Lexington, Chicago and Indiana to close out the year with plans to bring him back at four to hopefully race in the open ranks.

DM Stables LLC of Naples, Florida owns Prayer Session (Like A Prayer - ENS Tag Session), now six-for-13 in 2012 and never worse than third. The time of the mile was two-fifths of a second off the world record for trotting geldings. Of note, in 2009 Prayer Session's half-brother Triumphant Caviar won the Old Oaken Bucket in in 1:54.2, at the time a world record for three-year-old trotting colts.

Race 8 - The Standardbred (2yoCt - $59,150) - Dontyouforgetit - 1:55.3

It didn't look like much when driver Yannick Gingras pulled the pocket and leapfrogged to the lead at the halfway point during the $59,150 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old trotting colts, but Dontyouforgetit made sure that the performance would be firmly etched in the memory of race fans.

After Gingras and the Jimmy Takter trainee got the lead, they simply took off and showed the field their heels. The result was a crushing victory with many open lengths in a world record 1:55.3.

A field of 10 had faced the gate, and Gingras and the Cantab Hall colt left to the lead before getting covered up by Insider Access (Mark MacDonald) close to the :28.3 opening quarter. Gingras and the brown colt sat chilly in the garden spot in the second quarter until backfield flow started to develop just before the :58.4 half.

Beating the upcoming flow to the punch, Gingras retook the lead with Dontyouforgetit --- out of the class mare Solveig --- and turned on the afterburners. Having opened up multiple lengths, the Takter homebred (Solveigs Breeders of East Windsor, New Jersey) clicked off three quarters in 1:27.1 and fired home with a :28.2 final quarter to seal the deal emphatically.

Insider Access held on for second, while Theatrical Session (Dave Palone) finished third.

"He's a little guy, but pound for pound he's one of the best I've ever trained," Takter said during a winner's circle interview afterward.

The conditioner continued, stating that Dontyouforgetit sure doesn't race like the small horse he is. Takter also mentioned that the colt is scheduled to race during the second week of the Red Mile meet, and after that he may go on to contest the Breeders Crown.

Race 5 - The Standardbred (2yoFp - Division 1 - $53,750) - Miss Madi M - 1:54.1

Miss Madi M helped David Miller lift his total as the leading driver in Delaware County Fair history with a 1:54.1 win in the $53,750 division of the Standardbred for two-year-old pacing fillies.

Three fillies showed early speed off the gate, with Diligent Prospect (Mark MacDonald) forcing Miss Madi M to work for the front end through the opening panel of :27.3. Canary Island (Scott Zeron) took the tuck into third and allowed Miss Madi to front the field through the :57.3 half.

Gypsy Cards (Ron Pierce) began the outer flow in front of the grandstand, forcing Zeron from third and into the first over challenging position. Into the turn, Canary Island put in steps and Zeron needed to take his filly wide and out of immediate contention. Miller and Miss Madi M continued to set the pace, hitting three-quarters in 1:26.1 before stepping up the pace into the final turn. MacDonald pulled the plugs on pocket sitter Diligent Prospect and the sprint was on.

Down the lane, Miller kept his filly on task while MacDonald tried to track him down. At the wire Miss Madi M was a head in front of Diligent Prospect in a time of 1:54.1, with Gypsy Cards completing the triactor.

Miss Madi M (Real Artist - Fellas Bella) is unbeaten in four starts when teamed with David Miller, and now four-for-eight lifetime. Brian Brown trains Miss Madi M for Jennifer Brown of Upper Sandusky and Cameron McCown of Columbus, Ohio.

The win was #189 lifetime for Miller over the fabled half-miler.

Race 4 - The Standardbred (2yoCp - Division 2 - $31,875) - Beach Memories - 1:54

After having sat third through the opening half, driver Tim Tetrick tipped Beach Memories out first-over in the third quarter and eventually wore down the pacesetter to emerge victorious by a nose in the second $31,875 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old pacing colts.

The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere just got up on pacesetter Storm The Beach (Yannick Gingras) in the shadow of the wire to record his third win in eight tries this year. The win time was 1:54 and Beach Memories returned $5.60 on a successful Win wager.

A field of six faced the gate for the dash, but it was a group of three that made the festivities interesting in the lane. Storm The Beach was able to hold off My One Tru Desire along the rail, but was unable to repel the Brian Brown-trained Beach Memories. A win photo was required to determine the outcome.

Race 2 - The Standardbred (2yoCp - Division 1 - $31,875) - Twilight Bonfire - 1:55

After having employed an early first-over move and then rating a second quarter of :30, Twilight Bonfire and pilot John Campbell went on to take the first $31,875 division of The Standardbred for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings in a maiden-breaking 1:55.

Twilight Bonfire was one of three horses that fired out early. After the early move and subsequent rating, the The Panderosa colt trained by Danny Collins clicked off the opening half in :58.1 and then paced down to the three-quarters pole in 1:26.4.

Bids by closers came in the final quarter, but Twilight Bonfire ($3.80) was well on his way to the first win of his career. UF Dragons Cruiser (David Miller) finished second, while Modern Warfare (Dave Palone) finished third.

On Wednesday, September 19, the Ron Burke-trained and Yannick Gingras-driven Yankee Cruiser bay Darena Hanover won the 2012 Jugette for three-year-old pacing fillies. To watch the replays of the Jugette and read the recap from the Wednesday card, click here.



Congratulations to Casie Coleman, Scott Zeron and the Snyder family on winning the Jug with Michael's Power. We are PROUD of you :)

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