Freshman Phenom Karl Tries For Five In Bluegrass

Published: September 26, 2023 05:15 pm EDT

Nancy Takter’s unbeaten Tactical Landing colt Karl makes his move out of Kentucky Sires Stakes domination onto the Grand Circuit, where he will put his four-race win streak on the line in the fifth of five divisions for $405,100 Bluegrass Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on a dynamite Thursday, Sept. 28 card to open the stakes meet at The Red Mile.

Listed the 6-5 morning line favourite in the 12th race on the 13-race card, Karl will compete from post six in the field of eight in rein to Yannick Gingras, who has piloted him to all four of his victories by a combined 16 lengths. The winner of $290,000 has notable competition, including Hankins Hanover, who will start from post eight off a tight victory in a $39,350 Reynolds Memorial division at Tioga Downs, and Top Mast, recently fourth in the Mohawk Million to the monstrous comeback from a break in stride by T C I.

Dame Good Time, runner-up to Karl in the $400,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final, will try for spot No. 1 from post one in division one of the Bluegrass colt trots, carded as race two. Scott Zeron will return to steer the Robert Bath-trained gelding by Chapter Seven who still seeks his first photograph from the winner’s circle. He draws into a division against morning-line favourite Situationship, an Ake Svanstedt pupil exiting a fourth-place finish in the New York Sires Stakes final, as well as My Way, the full brother to Hambletonian runner-up Oh Well who looks to rebound off back-to-back breaks in stride.

Freshman trotting colts and geldings will return to the track in race seven where Noel Daley’s breakout colt Sig Sauer also puts an unblemished record to the test. Andy McCarthy will drive the 9-5 morning line choice out of post six off a 1:53.3 cruise in the $275,000 New Jersey Classic final earlier in September. The son of Muscle Hill faces eight foes, including Thinker Monkey, a full brother to trotting champion Gimpanzee and Pick Pocket, the third-place finisher in the $100,000 Kentucky Commonwealth final, among others.

Mars Hill will attempt to rebound in the race following, division three for the two-year-old male trotters, after breaking stride and finishing last in the $420,000 Peter Haughton Memorial. Prior to, the Tony Alagna-trained son of Muscle Hill had won the elimination of and then just missed victory in the William Wellwood Memorial behind one T C I. Todd McCarthy will steer Mars Hill from post four as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, as favouritism landed on the precocious Julie Miller student, Lindys Coyotito, from post seven. The $170,000 yearling purchase, who will be driven by Andy Miller, will make his stakes debut off a resounding effort to win against maiden company in a 1:55.1 mile with a :27.4 final quarter.

Division four for the boys brings international blood with the 2-1 morning line favourite Winter Soldier, a son of French star Face Time Bourbon. Andy McCarthy teams with Tony Alagna off a rebound victory over the red clay on Sept. 19, which came a few weeks after the colt broke stride in the $620,000 William Wellwood Memorial. Winter Soldier will meet rivals including Smart Schooner, a gelding out of a mare who adored the Lexington oval in Cooler Schooner, and a first-time starter for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt in Daiquiri Hanover from the pylon post.

Freshman pacing fillies will join the trotting colts in competition on the Thursday card with three divisions for the $290,100 Bluegrass Stakes.

Chris Ryder will again return to Lexington with a talented young pacing filly. He sends 8-5 morning line choice Peace Talks from post seven in the opening race on the card off a 39-1 upset from off the pace in the $225,000 New York Sires Stakes final. Missing the board in only one start from seven tries, Dave Miller will stick with the drive against six other fillies looking to breakthrough for a stakes prize. Among them are Miraculous Deo, a Noel Daley trainee who finished third to Blue Pacific in the $150,000 New Jersey Classic, as well as Asweetbeachhere, an Erv Miller trainee who finished fourth to Geocentric in the $400,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final.

Speaking of Blue Pacific, she’ll try to ring up the score in the third division for the Bluegrass filly pace, carded as race six. The Joe Holloway trainee will start from post three off a 1:50.2 victory going away in the $200,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. David Miller will also have the drive on this daughter of Sweet Lou as she rematches with Jim King Jr.’s speedy Stay Hungry filly Lyons Legend going out of post seven.

Division two of the Bluegrass filly pace stings seven gals around the ring. Ohio champion Daisys Star earns the title of morning line favourite following a tough trip in Delaware, Ohio to finish sixth. Sam Widger will sit in the bike behind the Johnson Hill Jr. trainee from post three as she faces a group including Kentucky Sires Stakes runner-up Gifted One, Pennsylvania Sires Stakes consolation winner Sea Shanty Hanover and Linda Toscano trainee Sarasota Hanover.

Three of the five divisions of the $405,100 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot, races two, eight and 12,  are named “The Captain Corey” and are sponsored by the Captain Corey Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms. The other two divisions, races seven and 10, are named “The Father Patrick” and are sponsored by Al Libfeld Equine.

On the filly pacing side, two of the three divisions for the $290,100 Bluegrass Stakes, races one and six, are named “The McWicked” and are sponsored by the McWicked Syndicate and Winbak Farm. Race three goes as “The American Ideal” and is presented by Brittany Farms.

Racing at The Red Mile gets started at 1 p.m. (EDT) for the 13-race program on Thursday. The card features a $5,000 guaranteed pool for the 50-cent Pick 5, starting in race three, and a $10,000 guaranteed pool for the Pick 4, starting in race six. The Pick 5 and Pick 4s at The Red Mile feature an industry-low 12 per cent takeout.

(The Red Mile)

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