Karl Just Misses World Record As Bluegrass Begins

Karl, winning at the Red Mile
Published: September 28, 2023 06:45 pm EDT

The undefeated Tactical Landing colt Karl rung up his fifth straight victory when coming just a tick of a second off the world record in taking the fifth of five divisions for the $405,100 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot at The Red Mile on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 28.

Driver Yannick Gingras floated 1-9 favoured Karl into fourth while Hankins Hanover clocked a :27.3 first quarter with Stormcloudfashion in the pocket. Gingras then gave Karl his head up the backside and brushed to the top into a :56.2 half. Holding his speed through three-quarters in 1:24, Karl stretched his lead into the lane and strolled in under a hand drive to a two-length win in 1:51.2 over Hankins Hanover, with Southwind Metric mounting a late charge for third and Bright Star taking fourth.

“He’s really funny,” Jimmy Takter, father of trainer Nancy Takter, said of Karl. “He jumps around, he’s feeling good, he made two breaks on me in the warm-up and I said, ‘Nancy, what the heck is this?’ He always does this. He doesn’t pay attention, and Yannick said as soon as he got up behind the gate, he took the bit. He never took the bit from me warming up. Yannick says if he asked him, he would’ve trotted under [1:]50 today.”

Karl has now earned $330,310 for owners Christina And Nancy Takter, Black Horse Racing, Crawford Farms Racing and Bender Sweden Inc.. He paid $2.28 to win.

Dame Good Time delivered as the 6-5 favourite in the first division with a 1:54.2 steamroll victory.

Driver Scott Zeron settled into third with Dame Good Time while Bargain took the field by a :29.4 first quarter over pocket-sitter Situationship. Situationship grew antsy from second and barrelled to the lead before a :57.3 half while opening a three-length advantage to the far turn.

Coasting by three-quarters in 1:25.3, Situationship appeared strong into the lane while Zeron gave Dame Good Time his cue to trot. Under minimal urging, Dame Good Time drew nearer and nearer to a leg-weary Situationship and slid by with ease in the final strides to win by three-quarters lengths with 58-1 Flight Landing another three lengths behind in third and Greenspan closing from last for fourth.

“He’s been a little tricky from the get-go,” said Zeron of the Robert Bath-trained winner. “They’ve been making changes with his shoes and bits in his mouth. He’s always had the talent, he just couldn’t put it all together. He’s found his stride in his last couple. The fractions were certainly honest and I was happy where I was. Down the lane, my horse performed like I thought he could.”

The Chapter Seven gelding broke his maiden, with the victory coming in his fifth start over the Lexington track. Despite being a maiden coming into Thursday, Dame Good Time padded his bankroll to $147,810 for owner/breeder John Cummins. He paid $4.54 to win.

Odds-on favourite Sig Sauer trotted to the lead in midstretch of the second division before going off stride for the first time in his career, which opened the path for Pick Pocket to burst through and land a 17-1 upset in 1:54.2.

Driver Anthony MacDonald planted Pick Pocket on the point from post eight to a :28.4 first quarter before yielding command to Magic Hill towards a :57.2 half. Sig Sauer raced unhurried from fifth until committing first-over to the final turn, where he motored to match strides with the leader by three-quarters in 1:26.1.

Sig Sauer strolled into the stretch on an easy lead, but took a bad step and lost stride down the center of the track at the eighth pole. Pick Pocket circumvented a tiring Magic Hill and charged through the inside to grab the lead late while Bryant Bros S mounted a rally down the center but came three-quarter lengths short of victory. Thinker Monkey took third and Magic Hill held fourth.

“He’s been good from day one,” said MacDonald of the Walner colt. “He was one of our better trainers. We had him at Oak Grove and had an opportunity to send him back to New Jersey, but I said, ‘You know what, we’ll just leave him down in the state.’ We turned him out at Kentuckiana for a week and brought him here. [trainer] Eric [Patalan] and his wife have done just a tremendous job with this horse.”

Pick Pocket has now won three times from nine starts and accrued $121,460 for owners Thestable Pick Pocket Group and Hutchison Harness LLC.

Mars Hill pounced off a pocket ride to a 1:54.2 win in the third Bluegrass division.

Driver Todd McCarthy moved the Muscle Hill colt for the lead through a :28.1 first quarter and cleared control from Robinhood into the backstretch. He then yielded to a headstrong Loxahatchee to a :56.1 half before creeping around that tired leader by three-quarters in 1:26. McCarthy kept Mars Hill to task through the lane as he crossed the beam 1-1/4 lengths better than a fast-charging Ordained in second. Mr Bluebird took third and Robinhood finished fourth.

“He was great up in Canada there [finishing second in the William Wellwood Memorial] and last start he made a little hiccup at Hoosier [in the Peter Haugton] unfortunately, but he came back and showed his best here today,” said McCarthy.

Tony Alagna trains Mars Hill, a homebred for Willow Oak Ranch who has now won four times from seven starts and earned $229,510. He paid $4.54 to win.

Jim Campbell trainee Smart Schooner followed in his mom’s footsteps and motored to a 1:53.2 victory in the fourth division going nearly gate to wire.

Nursed by Tim Tetrick through the first turn, Smart Schooner, a gelded son of Greenshoe out of world champion Cooler Schooner, ventured forward through a :29 first quarter before insisting on leading the pack up the backstretch. Tetrick let the gelding go and pocketed Wild Ticket before a :57.1 half while remaining authoritative at the helm through the final turn.

By three-quarters in 1:26, Smart Schooner spun for home on an open lead he maintained with ease. Smart Schooner hit the finish 2-1/2 lengths better than 7-5 favourite Winter Soldier, who just nipped second from Wild Ticket. First-time starter Daiquiri Hanover finished fourth.

“I was holding my breath the first half because he’s a little tough to get off the gate,” said Tetrick. “But once he got there, he’s a really talented colt when keeping his mind on his game.”

The rebound win for Smart Schooner was the third of his career from six starts and came after three straight pari-mutuel outings where he failed to stay flat. Bred and owned by Fashion Farms LLC, he has now earned $69,914. Smart Schooner paid $8.74 to win.

Three of the five divisions for the Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot were named “The Captain Corey” and sponsored by the Captain Corey Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms. The other two divisions were named “The Father Patrick” and presented by Al Libfeld Equine.

Lyons Legend Staves Off Blue Pacific

Driver Tim Tetrick worked steady early fractions for Lyons Legend to force her main competitor, 1-5 favourite Blue Pacific, to claw forward in a final quarter sprint, and the tactics paid off to give the 5-2 second choice a 1:52.1 victory in the third of three divisions of the $290,100 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Pace.

Lyons Legend winning at The Red Mile

Tetrick swept to the lead with Lyons Legend out of post seven to clock a :27.4 first quarter with Flawless sitting second. Blue Pacific landed third and stayed put at the pegs while the backfield itched for cover to follow. With no challengers laying aim, Lyons Legend strolled to a :57.2 and readied for the impending charge from Blue Pacific to the final turn.

Lyons Legend upped the ante to three-quarters in 1:25.3 and built solid cushion as Blue Pacific attempted to cut the deficit in the lane. Blue Pacific accelerated and pushed to within a length of Lyons Legend in the final eighth, but Lyons Legend held firm and repelled her rival in the closing strides to take the victory by a head. Flawless held third from Behest in fourth.

“How do you go to the sale and come home with something for $30,000 and have them do what she’s done?” said JoAnn Looney-King of the Jim King Jr. trainee, who has now won seven races from nine starts and banked $285,286 for owner Threelyonsracing. She paid $7.46 to win.

Canigetalouploup uncorked a pillar-to-post job to take the opening division of the Bluegrass going away in the fastest mile of the day: a 1:50.4 effort.

Driver Yannick Gingras sent Canigetalouploup for the front from post four and cleared command to a :28.1 first quarter. She had her rivals squirming uphill from there as she rolled through middle fractions of :56.3 and 1:24.1 before moseying clear in the lane. Canigetalouploup widened to a 4-1/4-length win over Peace Talks, who marched uncovered from last to grab second. Asweetbeachhere, the 9-5 favourite, levelled off from a second-over bid in third and Miraculous Deo finished fourth.

Ron Burke trains Canigetalouploup, a homebred two-year-old filly by Sweet Lou for Burke Racing Stable LLC along with Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Larry Karr and Phil Collura share ownership of the now three-time winner from 11 tries who has $104,549 in earnings. She paid $7.78 to win.

The second division, the only named “The American Ideal,” went to a perfectly timed rally by driver Scott Zeron with Sarasota Hanover as she gathered her momentum and then held off a late charge to win narrowly in 1:52.

Sea Shanty Hanover hustled to the top from post six to lead Gifted One by a :27.4 first quarter, but only briefly. Gifted One angled outside up the backside and crept forward to circle back to the lead before a :56 half all while Sarasota Hanover sat behind in third.

Gifted One continued to roll around the final turn while Zeron got underway with Sarasota Hanover and reeled in the leader to three-quarters in 1:24.2. Sarasota Hanover kept plugging forward through the stretch to eventually down Gifted One but hung a tad through the lane while Sea Shanty Hanover shook free from the pocket. Once that challenger came charging, Sarasota Hanover re-engaged and kept her nose in front to the finish while Reigning Jade, the 8-5 favourite, ran out of racetrack and settled for third. Gifted One took fourth.

“I loved her from day one,” said trainer Linda Toscano. “She’s had a couple of hiccups along the way. We think we have them figured out, which is why she’s here and I was tickled with her today. She’s been a very sound filly all along. As long as she comes out of this good, she’s eligible for everything.”

A daughter of Stay Hungry, Sarasota Hanover has now won three races from seven starts and earned $71,695 for owners Jablonsky Held Stable, Camelot Stable, John Fodera and South Mountain Stables. She paid $9.78 to win.

The one division of The American Ideal was sponsored by Brittany Farms. The other two Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Pace divisions were named "The McWicked" and were sponsored by the McWicked Syndicate and Winbak Farm.

Racing resumes at The Red Mile on Friday, Sept. 29 with nine total divisions of Bluegrass Stakes – four for the $348,000 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace and five for the $429,000 Norman Woolworth Memorial Bluegrass Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies.

(With files from The Red Mile)

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