Making his first foray into Grand Circuit company on Thursday (Sept. 26) at the Red Mile, Carter Pinske trainee Amigo Volo vaulted to the top entering the stretch to win in a world record 1:52.3 in the third of three divisions of the $315,500 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, sponsored by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.
Amigo Volo, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass at the Red Mile.
Odds-on favourite Ready For Moni floated to the front past the :28 opening quarter while King Alphonso yielded for the pocket and Amigo Volo raced third. Ontopofthehill, positioned fifth, tipped first-over into a :56.3 half and flushed Amigo Volo two wide into the final turn.
Amigo Volo advanced to match strides with Ready For Moni past three quarters in 1:25.4 while King Alphonso slid from the pocket through a gap in cover straightening for the finish. Both King Alphonso and Ready For Moni lost stride through the lane as Amigo Volo strode clear of his competition, chased by Cafe Americano in second and Rome Pays Off in third.
“He always showed talent down in Florida,” Pinske said after the race. “He just lacked maturity. He’s a little funky with his mouth; a little funky with his shoeing and stuff like that. It was one of those things where he’d train good one week and then he’d have a poor week. When we got him up north and we got him gelded, he turned into a horse then.”
Owned by the Pinske Stables and David J. Miller, Amigo Volo won his third race in what was his seventh start. He has now banked $168,646 in purse earnings. Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre bred the gelding. Dexter Dunn was in the bike for the record mile. Amigo Volo paid $14.40 to win.
Gangster Hanover, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass at the Red Mile.
Gangster Hanover hustled past 4-5 favourite Back Of The Neck and drew away with a 1:52.3 mile to win the Bluegrass’ $104,500 opening division.
Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt sat fourth with Gangster Hanover while Back Of The Neck led the field through the :27.1 opening quarter as stablemate Expectations opted for the pocket. Svanstedt floated the Father Patrick colt from the cones past the :55.4 half and blitzed Back Of The Neck circling the final turn. Gangster Hanover struck the front past three quarters in 1:25.4 and widened his lead through the stretch. Stonefire US, who was sent off at 97-1, rallied towards the centre of the course for second. Hobbs snagged third from Back Of The Neck, who faded to fourth.
Co-owned by Svanstedt with S R F Stables and breeder Brittany Farms (which bought 25 per cent of the colt as a yearling after the Harrisburg Sale), Gangster Hanover won his third race in what was his fifth career start. He has now banked $114,522 in purses. Gangster Hanover paid $18.20 to win.
“It’s the only horse I bought at Harrisburg,” George Segal of Brittany Farms said after the race. “I liked the pedigree; I liked the horse. My advisors helped me and everything worked out fine. Normally [these horses] show their best right here. [Ake Svanstedt’s a] great trainer. He’s got great horses that he’s developed here — Six Pack, among others.”
E L Ideal, pictured victorious in the Bluegrass at the Red Mile.
Dexter Dunn also drove Svanstedt trainee E L Ideal to a maiden-breaking 1:52.2 win while capturing the second of the Bluegrass divisions.
Its Academic swept to the front from the outermost post in the field of eight while E L Ideal sat second past the :27.1 quarter pole. Berkery J, who raced third to the backside, pulled first up and crossed over to control the tempo past the :55.4 half. He did so before Its Academic tipped from second to retake command rounding the final turn. E L Ideal tracked the pocket-popper’s move and ranged past the new leader through three quarters in 1:25. The Muscle Hill colt maintained command through the lane while pursued by 1-2 favourite Capricornus in second. Big Oil kicked off cover for third.
“He’s been in some really good races as a two-year-old,” Dunn said after the race. “He was a little off his game last out, but Ake and Sarah said that today he felt great and he showed it. He’s a big-strong guy and the big track definitely felt like it helped him a lot.”
Bred by the late Erkki Laakkonen and owned by Emp Invest Oy, E L Ideal has earned $122,682 from six starts. He paid $18.20 to win.
Grand Circuit action at the Red Mile will resumes on Friday (Sept. 27) with a nine-race card highlighted by four divisions of the $330,000 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Trot and two divisions of the $280,500 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Pace. Racing will get underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).