Bluegrass Stakes Begin At Red Mile

Twin B Joe Fresh winning at The Red Mile
Published: September 29, 2022 05:48 pm EDT

A negative show plunge proved a positive return on Twin B Joe Fresh, who strolled into the stretch without a doubt the winner in the first of two divisions of the $283,000 McWicked Bluegrass Stakes for freshman pacing fillies on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 29) at The Red Mile.

Hungry For Love set the tempo past a :28.3 first quarter after pocketing early leader Zanatta to the backstretch. Twin B Joe Fresh patiently plied over the ground in fourth to a :57.2 half until driver Dexter Dunn gave the Roll With Joe filly her cue. Angled off the pegs around the final turn, Twin B Joe Fresh rushed to the front to three-quarters in 1:25.3 and uncorked a :25.2 final quarter in hand to open 6-1/4 lengths at the end of a 1:51.1 mile. Zanatta edged Hungry For Love for second with Absolute Power checking in fourth.

“She’s been beaten twice – it’s kind of a funny thing – but she just does almost anything we’ve ever asked of her and today was nothing different,” said winning trainer Chris Ryder after the race. “She’s just got a big engine and is a beautiful filly.”

Twin B Joe Fresh (pictured above) has now won seven races from nine starts and amassed $534,912 in earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Dexter Dunn, Peter Trebotica and Barry Spak. She paid $2.10 to win.

Kentucky Championship runner-up Strong Poison powered home strongly enough to down late leader Vivians Dream in the final strides of the other Bluegrass division for pacing fillies.

Driver Yannick Gingras took back with Strong Poison to race sixth while Diamondsnpearls raced freely on the lead to a :28 first quarter. Vivians Dream drafted from the pocket to a :56.3 half and made her attack on the pacesetter pulling pocket towards three-quarters in 1:24. Diamondsnpearls retreated off the turn as Vivians Dream forged to a narrow lead with Light And Tight giving chase and Strong Poison sent widest on the track. The Ron Burke trainee gathered her momentum in the final eighth and lunged late at Vivians Dream to seize a neck victory in 1:51.3. Light And Tight settled for third with Bankers Luck another four lengths back in fourth.

A daughter of Always B Miki, Strong Poison now has five wins from nine starts and $315,000 earned for owners Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva Stables, Knox Services Inc. and Beasty LLC. She paid $3.38 to win.

The McWicked Syndicate and Winbak Farm presented each division of the Bluegrass for freshman pacing fillies.

Driver Dexter Dunn sprung the latch with Gates Hanover in the straightaway to score in the first of three divisions of the $328,000 Captain Corey Bluegrass Stakes for freshman trotting colts and geldings.

Gates Hanover winning at The Red Mile

Sent off as the 5-2 favourite, Dunn slid Gates Hanover to the front before yielding for the pocket as French Wine crossed to the lead past a :28.2 first quarter. Strolling up the backside to a :56.3 half, French Wine attempted to quicken on the turn as Lukes Bar progressed uncovered on the rim to soon match strides with the pacesetter by three-quarters in 1:24.4. Lukes Bar forged to a narrow lead off the turn as French Wine folded while Dunn fanned to the center of the course with the Ake Svanstedt pupil and hustled in the final eighth to the lead to stop the clock in 1:52.3, three-quarter lengths better than Lukes Bar. International Man sat a pylon trip for third and French Wine settled for fourth.

“He’s just really handy,” Dexter Dunn said of Gates Hanover after the race. “His manners are great, he gets off the gate really well and, once he gets onto a helmet, he relaxes – a lot like Svanstedt’s [other] horses. They’re good to drive and it's always a pleasure to drive for them.”

Gates Hanover collected his second win from seven starts to push his bankroll to $121,757 for owner S R F Stable. The son of Walner returned $7.44 to win.

A first-half snooze became a wake-up call for the competition as 22-1 shot Espresso scooted to an easy lead with a soft pace and sealed the job to take the second trotting colt division in 1:54.

Espresso snagged the top from post eight to a :28.3 first quarter with Designer Drink sitting second and Brodeur in third. The field stretched up the backside despite Espresso slowing proceedings to a :58 half while also widening to an open-length advantage. Driver Andy Miller then released the pads and sped to three-quarters in 1:25.3 with the backfield spinning their wheels to close. The Julie Miller-trained gelding by Chapter Seven slowed to the finish but built enough cushion to withstand a late-charging Crown by 1-1/4 lengths with Excaliber Bi rallying for third and Kierkegaard K taking fourth.

“Nobody was really leaving, I don’t think anybody wanted the front and neither did I, really,” said Andy Miller after the race. “He got away [with] cheap enough [fractions] and it worked out. He impressed me pretty good today… off a slow half like that and then he took off and kept digging right to the wire.”

Winning his fourth race from eight starts, Espresso has now banked $162,500 for owners Andy Miller Stable, Andy Willinger, Mortgage Boys Stable and L Berg Inc. He paid $46.16 to win.

Dexter Dunn bookended the trotting colt splits when delivering 4-5 favourite Ari Ferrari J to a maiden-breaking victory in 1:54.2.

Ari Ferrari J floated off the wings to race fifth to a :28.4 first quarter set by Kimmeridgian, who then obliged for the pocket when Purple Lord circled to the front in the backstretch. By a :57 half, and with just five of the seven maintaining stride throughout, Cecil Hanover moved first over with Ari Ferrari J in tow to tackle Purple Lord to three-quarters in 1:25.3. Purple Lord repelled that challenge angling for home but gave even pursuit when Ari Ferrari J motored to the lead. Upstaged rallied down the center to secure second, beaten a half-length, with Purple Lord settling for third and Kimmeridgian taking fourth.

“He just had one thing go wrong after another, no fault of his,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna after the race. “The good thing about it is Ken Jacobs, who owns him, couldn’t have been more patient with the horse. And Dexter never wavered; Dexter always knew the horse had ability. He rode him out the whole time and that’s been a huge benefit to get this horse where he’s at today.”

Despite now having one victory from nine outings, Ari Ferrari J has $202,600 in his coffers for Ken Jacobs. The colt by Walner paid $3.76 to win.

Each division of the Captain Corey Bluegrass Stakes was sponsored by the Captain Corey Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farm.

(With files from The Red Mile)

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