Its My Show stole the spotlight as the Linda Toscano trainee caught Seven Colors right at the wire to win the 78th edition of the Little Brown Jug, which featured a record $1 million purse for this Triple Crown event, on Thursday, Sept. 21 at Delaware County Fair.
Three-year-old pacing gelding Its My Show completed a Jug-Jugette sweep for Toscano and driver Scott Zeron after Ucandoit Blue Chip took the filly companion event on Wednesday for the duo.
"This has been a pretty good week," said an emotional Toscano in the winner's circle. "I don't know, this has been a race that's eluded me and a race that I've wanted for so long that I'm a little choked up, as you can see."
With the inside post advantage in $850,000 Little Brown Jug final featuring one trailer in a field of nine, Moment Is Here (Tim Tetrick) established the lead over Ken Hanover (David Miller) while their fellow elimination winner Cannibal (Yannick Gingras) pressed forward off the gate to their outside. Cannibal went head-to-head with Moment Is Here through a sizzling :25.4 opening quarter, but was left parked out as the latter elim winner refused to give way on top.
Moment Is Here completed the first lap, leading to the half in :53.3 while 2-1 favourite Seven Colors (Dexter Dunn) moved up second-over behind Cannibal with eventual winner Its My Show spotted third-over after getting away sixth in the early going.
As Moment Is Here continued to lead the charge down the backstretch to three-quarters in 1:22 with Cannibal beginning to tire, Dunn sent half-mile track world champion Seven Colors three-wide to pick up the chase and took over command turning for home with Its My Show chasing off his cover and getting up on the line in 1:49 flat to steal the spotlight. Finishing 2-1/2 lengths behind, Ken Hanover, fresh off a 1:48.4 track record mile in his Jug elimination, took third over Moment Is Here.
Its My Show was sent postward at odds of 7-1 after finishing second to Cannibal in one of the three $50,000 elimination heats earlier in the afternoon and returned $16 to win.
"When you add in a trailer, it changes everything about a race," said Zeron when asked about his off-the-pace strategy. "Yannick timed the gate great going out of there and that made it easy for me to not try to leave. And honestly, I've been in the postion he was in, which is when you commit to the leave but there's no give and goes, you're two-hole goes by pretty quick. So when David closed up the hole, it was just tough for him.
"They were going at it [up front], but I was still way out of it. I needed a lot of things to go right and Seven Colors raced sensational, my guy just put his nose out."
Its My Show went over the million-dollar mark in career earnings for owners Richard Young of Boca Raton, Florida and Joanna Young of Coconut Creek, Florida.
The homebred Sweet Lou gelding out the champion Rocknroll Hanover mare, Put On A Show, is now nine-for-13 this year after going winless in eight starts as a freshman.
It's also been a year to remember for Zeron, who won his first Jug 11 years ago with the Casie Coleman-trained Micheals Power. Its My Show also gave the reinsman his second career victory in the $1 million North America Cup earlier this year at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
"There's been a lot of people that have been a big part of it," said Zeron. "This horse has made some amazing races for us."
The connections are hoping there's more to come with Its My Show, with plans to race next during the second week of The Red Mile's Grand Circuit stakes meet.
The Little Brown Jug is the third jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. The first legs were won by Captain Batboy (Messenger Stakes) and Confederate (Cane Pace).
Recaps of the Jug elimination heats follow with coverage of the undercard available by clicking here.
Field Set For Little Brown Jug
Canadian-based three-year-old pacing gelding Moment Is Here kicked off the elimination heats for the 78th edition of the Little Brown Jug on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 21) at Delaware County Fair.
Picking up the catch drive, Tim Tetrick used the Bob McIntosh homebred's gate speed to establish the lead off the gate. Leaving from post five, Moment Is Here took command in the first turn and never looked back. The All Bets Off-Breathtacular gelding led through fractions of :26, :54 and 1:22.1 while shrugging off the first-over 4-5 favourite, Voukefalas (Jordan Stratton), and opening up in the stretch for the 1:50.1 victory. Hungry Angel Boy (Todd McCarthy) followed in the pocket and held on for second while Blue Hunt (Andrew McCarthy) got up for third along the pylons off a ground-saving trip, finishing just ahead of Loubet (David Miller), who rallied three-wide down the backside.
"I've never driven the horse. I went off what the connections said and watched his replays and they kept telling me he's as quick as a cat," said Tetrick. "He was pretty quick off the car; we jumped out of there good. It was a strong quarter of :26, but we got to control it from there and it was a good race for him.
"He did put in a long step [in the first turn], but we were smoking pretty hard. I wanted to try to get there and get control and that way I could get around Todd [McCarthy and Hungry Angel Boy] in the first turn.
"He was really good, paced all the way to the wire, would've gone more if I needed to but we're going for a lot of money and we've got to save what we can."
Making his stateside debut following a Grand Circuit stakes runner-up finish in the Simcoe on Sept. 9 at his home track of Woodbine Mohawk Park, Moment Is Here was sent postward at odds of 5-1 and returned $12.80 to his backers.
The win was his fourth of the season from 16 starts and his sixth career victory, bumping his bankroll to $472,589.
Moment Is Here is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. of Windsor, Ont., Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. of Leamington, Ont., Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ont., and Frank Baldachino of Harvey Cedars, New Jersey.
According to reports from Delaware County Fair, McIntosh was unable to attend today's races after sustaining a hip injury.
Ken Hanover hasn't been staked to some of the bigger events for three-year-old male pacers in 2023, but the sophomore pacer etched his name into the Delaware County Fair record books with the fastest mile ever paced in the Little Brown Jug by picking off half-mile track world champion Seven Colors in the second $50,000 Little Brown Jug elimination.
David Miller sat off the hot early pace, positioned in fifth as Thunder Hunter Joe (Tim Tetrick) set early fractions of :26.1 and :54 before favoured Seven Colors (Dexter Dunn) started his first-over forge. Miller followed Dunn's helmet with Ken Hanover, and kept as close as he could through a 1:21.3 third quarter and around the far turn. In the stretch, Miller asked his colt with Seven Colors appearing to have the win wrapped up. Ken Hanover obliged, closing with a late spurt to edge past Seven Colors in the final strides of a 1:48.4 track record mile. Thunder Hunter Joe stayed for third.
Roland 'Polie' Mallar trains and co-owns Ken Hanover (Captaintreacherous - KJs Justine) along with Patrick Leavitt of Buxton, Maine, William Jordan of Fryeberg, Maine, and 'Big Dee' Dennis Osterholt of Boyton Beach, Florida.
"He's always been a real good horse, and just like everybody else [Mallar] wanted to come to Delaware," said Miller in the winner's circle.
"I followed Dexter right up and I was thinking at the head of the stretch, 'I'm going to be second here.' I moved him off his back, and gave him a yell and he shot, like he just took off. I was really happy with him."
The win provided Ken Hanover with a new lifetime mark in his 11th lifetime victory, pushing his career earnings over the $410,000 mark. He paid $11.40 to win.
Cannibal delivered on his 4-5 pari-mutuel promise as a persistent leader in the third elimination heat with Yannick Gingras aboard for trainer Nancy Takter.
Leaving from the inside posts, Cannibal was quickest off the gate for Gingras with even-money Its My Show (Scott Zeron) following in second, but Bamboozler (Tony Hall) left hard from post five to make front over the favourites. His lead was short-lived though as Gingras retook command at the quarter pole in :26.2. The bettors' choice stole a second quarter breather to the half in :55.2 and continued to lead the field in single-file fashion to three-quarters in 1:22.2, where Its My Show took his shot but couldn't catch Cannibal through the stretch. Cannibal held clear of Its My Show down the lane for the 1:49.1 victory by 1-1/2 lengths while Redwood Hanover (James MacDonald) finished third.
"This is an interesting race to race in becase post positions are so important going into the eliminations, so obviously when we drew the rail, I was ecstatic about that because you're going to have more of an opportunity to control your own destiny," commented Takter after the race.
"The post position draw for the final is going to be important again, but hopefully we'll draw well. I think my colt should bounce back really well and have plenty left in the tank."
This year's Adios champion came into the eliminations off back-to-back Kentucky stakes victories and paid $3.80 to win. Cannibal improved to nine-for-11 on the season and now has a dozen wins lifetime with $469,978 earned.
The homebred Sweet Lou-No More Losses colt is owned by Diamond Creek Racing of Wellsville, Pennsylvania.
Stockade Seelster was scratched from the third elimination.
Post positions for the Little Brown Jug final are listed below. Elimination winners drew for posts one through three for the final. Second-place finishers drew for posts four through six and third-place finishers drew for spots seven through nine.
$850,000 Little Brown Jug
Post - Horse - Driver
1. Moment Is Here - Tim Tetrick
2. Ken Hanover - David Miller
3. Cannibal - Yannick Gingras
4. Seven Colors - Dexter Dunn
5. Its My Show - Scott Zeron
6. Hungry Angel Boy - Todd McCarthy
7. Blue Hunt - Andrew McCarthy
8. Redwood Hanover - James MacDonald
9. Thunder Hunter Joe - Jordan Stratton
Watch The Little Brown Jug
The 78th edition of the $1 million Little Brown Jug for three-year-old pacers headlines Thursday's 25-race card at the Delaware County Fair and live streaming of all the action will be available.
The $850,000 Little Brown Jug final will cap off the action-packed afternoon as Race 24 on the main wagering card, featuring the top three finishers from three elimination heats contested earlier in the day (Races 19, 20 & 21).
Voukefalas is the 2-1 morning line favourite with the inside draw in the first elimination with Jordan Stratton driving for trainer Michael Russo.
Thunder Hunter Joe is the early 5-2 favourite from the pylon post in the second elimination for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Nicholas Devita. The second elimination includes the Canadian-campaigned Huntinthelastdolar and Burnout, both supplemented for $45,000.
Its My Show is the 9-5 favourite in the third elimination for trainer Linda Toscano with Scott Zeron driving from post position two. The field includes Canadian-based contender Redwood Hanover. O'Brien Award winner Stockade Seelster has been scratched.
The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association will present a live stream of Thursday's action, which will begin at 11 a.m. Post time for the first non-betting race is 11 a.m., with the main wagering card starting at 11:30 a.m. The live stream will be available below.
A majority of the Jug Day card will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 as a part of its “America’s Day at the Races,” produced by the New York Racing Association (NYRA). The broadcast window will be from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. and will feature Delaware’s Races 18-24.
The complete fields for the elimination heats are listed below in post position order.
$50,000 Little Brown Jug Elimination #1 - Race 19
Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds
1. Voukefalas - Jordan Stratton - Michael Russo - 2-1
2. Loubet - David Miller - Ron Burke - 5-1
3. Hungry Angel Boy - Todd McCarthy - Tony Alagna - 9-2
4. Blue Hunt - Andrew McCarthy - Deborah Daguet - 6-1
5. Moment Is Here - Tim Tetrick - Bob McIntosh - 4-1
6. Ants Matching - Dexter Dunn - Nancy Takter - 9-2
$50,000 Little Brown Jug Elimination #2 - Race 20
Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds
1. Thunder Hunter Joe - Tim Tetrick - Nicholas Devita - 5-1
2. Huntinthelastdolar - Doug McNair - Gregg McNair - 3-1
3. Ervin Hanover - Ronnie Wrenn Jr. - Ron Burke - 6-1
4. Ken Hanover - David Miller - Roland Mallar - 5-1
5. Burnout - Sam Widger - Todd Luther - 9-2
6. Seven Colors - Dexter Dunn - Andrew Harris - 7-2
$50,000 Little Brown Jug Elimination #3 - Race 21
Post - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds
1. Cannibal - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Takter - 2-1
2. Its My Show - Scott Zeron - Linda Toscano - 9-5
3. Redwood Hanover - James MacDonald - Anthony Beaton - 4-1
4. Stockade Seelster - David Miller - Dr. Ian Moore - 7-2 - Scratched
5. Bamboozler - Tony Hall - Virgil Morgan Jr. - 8-1
6. Bugaboo Lou - Chris Page - Ron Burke - 20-1