Captain Albano Downs Newsroom In Bluegrass Stakes

Captain Albano, winning at The Red Mile
Published: September 29, 2023 07:32 pm EDT

Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Captain Albano waited to make his attack on even-money favourite Newsroom and mowed him down off a fast clip to end his unbeaten streak with a 1:49.2 win in the $87,000 Arlene Siegel Memorial, part of the $348,000 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace, on Friday afternoon (Sept. 29) at The Red Mile.

Silken Sweet blasted from post nine for the front but promptly yielded when Captain Albano, tracked by Newsroom, tipped outside. Captain Albano took the lead and then opted to let Newsroom cut the breeze by a :28.1 first quarter. Newsroom took initiative through the middle half to rip to the next station in :55.2 and then to three-quarters in 1:22.4 all while Todd McCarthy kept a firm grip of Captain Albano in the pocket. Captain Albano swelled from the slipstream and charged home once released to pass Newsroom in the final eighth and kick three-quarter lengths in front at the beam. Remember The Alamo closed for third and Lou Vuitton finished fourth.

“He’s a very nice horse; a very casual horse,” said trainer Noel Daley, who registered his third win of the day when winning with Captain Albano. “The only time he got beat he had come off of sickness there. Now we’ve been lucky enough to have three really nice trips, like that’s a good horse that whacked it out for us today. And the last two starts in PA we had another horse whack them out for us, but he’s getting the job done.”

Captain Albano has now won five times from six starts, finishing no worse than second in all outings, and padded his bankroll to $239,680 for owners Patricia Stable, L A Express & Sjoblom Inc. and Michael Dolan. The colt by Captaintreacherous paid $5.48 to win.

Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Better Is Nice clenched victory in the first Bluegrass split for the boys with a 1:51 mile.

Away fourth through a :28.1 first quarter, Better Is Nice rushed towards the lead as Total Stranger coasted to a :57 half. Once on the point, Better Is Nice forced Boston Rocks to plug first-over as he hastened the tempo to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Boston Rocks climbed forward into the lane and upped his pressure on Better Is Nice, of which the Tony Alagna-trained colt by Bettors Wish withstood the challenge and persevered to a neck win. Total Stranger held third and Dancin Champion took fourth.

“[Boston Rocks] went a pretty good trip there first-over. He got to [me], but my colt did his job; he held him off there,” said winning driver Andy McCarthy. “He’s so fun to drive. He’s crazy fast – ideally, I’d rather not put him on the front all the time, but if they’re going to go slow, I’ve got to get him up there. He’s just got crazy speed.”

Winning his sixth race from eight starts, Better Is Nice – the New Jersey and Kentucky Sires Stakes champion – has now earned $482,100 for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Pryde Stalbes Inc. and Birnam Wood Farms. He paid $2.84 to win.

With a furious shuffle for control ahead of him, Magnifico Hanover took his time and fired down the lane to win as the 6-5 favourite in the second Bluegrass division with a 1:51 mile.

Arson slid to the lead by a :27.3 quarter before yielding command to Courtship, who then yielded command to Magnifico Hanover before he yielded command to Ivy Park up the backstretch, as he tried to clear the lead while Downbythedanceclub swooped three-wide.

Through the chase, Magnifico Hanover found himself in third by a :54.4 half and Downbythedanceclub motored on the lead through the far turn. Ivy Park crept out of the pocket with Magnifico Hanover looming by three-quarters in 1:22.4 and Magnifico Hanover darted to the lead in the straightaway. Courtship found a seam at the pylons to give chase in second, beaten a length, with Number Cruncher closing down the center for third and Alritealritealrite wider in fourth.

“He’s been a nice colt from day one – I got an opportunity to drive him at Pocono in his first start and I was real impressed; real happy with him,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “He’s shown a lot of ability.”

Cote Keim owns and trains Magnifico Hanover, a Captaintreacherous gelding with now three wins from four starts and $72,125 earned. He paid $4.76 to win.

Cupid Shuffle wrapped the Friday action with a 1:50.4 victory from off the pace as the 5-2 favourite.

Sweet Beach Life shot to the lead towards a :27.1 first quarter with Swaggy Cal sitting antsy in the pocket and soon making a move for the lead. By the half in :55.1, Swaggy Cal took over control while Cupid Shuffle moved out of fifth uncovered to march towards the leader. Swaggy Cal clicked three-quarters in 1:22.4 before tiring in the lane as Cupid Shuffle hit his best stride. Cupid Shuffle powered clear in the lane to post a 1-1/4-length win over fast-closing Steely Knife in second with Rock The Captain N third and Seasideescape fourth.

Brett Pelling handles the training duties stateside for Cupid Shuffle, a Sweet Lou gelding competing for trainer Dan Lagace and co-owners Edwin Buhler, Robert Van Ostrand and Ray Lagace. David Miller steered him to his second win from eight tries, which pushed his earnings to $74,700. He paid $7.34 to win.

The lone division of the Arlene Siegel Memorial was sponsored by Jules Siegel and Fashion Farms. The other three divisions of the Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace were named “The Stay Hungry” and sponsored by the Stay Hungry Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms.

Warrawee Michelle, Draw The Line Fastest Bluegrass Freshman Trotting Fillies

Ake Svanstedt pupil Warrawee Michelle and Dustin Jones trainee Draw The Line recorded the fastest miles of the five divisions for the $429,000 Norman Woolworth Memorial Bluegrass Stakes, for two-year-old trotting fillies, with 1:53.2 clockings in their respective divisions.

Warrawee Michelle delivered as the 4-5 favourite in the second of five divisions.

Svanstedt sent the daughter of Walner for the top from post six to a :29.1 first quarter with The Moment settling into second and Pisco Sour in third. Warrawee Michelle was left alone to the half, clocked in :58.1, and easily handled the far-turn push from first-over Cool Ma Belle. Past three-quarters in 1:26.3, Warrawee Michelle slipped away from her peers in the lane in progress to a 2-1/2-length win over fast-closing Pizelle with Pisco Sour grabbing third and Santa Croce taking fourth.

Svanstedt co-owns Warrawee Michelle with Santandrea Inc. and Young Guns. She’s now won two races from six starts and earned $93,750. She paid $3.70 to win.

Draw The Line punched off a pocket trip and strolled to the finish to win in the fifth and final division.

Draw The Line winning at The Red Mile

Special Talent pushed forward to take the lead from Draw The Line past a :29.1 first quarter and coasted uncontested to a :57.3 half. Draw The Line began looming out of the pocket through the final turn and made her move after three-quarters in 1:25.3. Draw The Line then powered to the line going away by four lengths while Paulina Hanover closed to take second from Special Talent. Green Mercedes finished fourth.

“Right from the day we broke her, she was a natural trotter,” said Jones, who also bred and co-owns Draw The Line with Dean Lockhart. “We always had hope for her, but you don’t know until you get them in to race. After today, I think she’s [Breeders Crown material]. The last start, she just finished a treatment of antibiotics so I figured she’d be a lot better today.”

A daughter of Cantab Hall, Draw The Line has now won twice from eight starts and earned $97,605. Scott Zeron drove the $9.46 winner.

One World opened the afternoon from post one in race one and finished No. 1 at odds of 9-2 in a near coast-to-coast effort timed in 1:53.4.

Unhurried off the wings, driver Dexter Dunn made his move for the lead with One World after a :29 first quarter, following Cocktailwithakick’s brush for the front into the backstretch. Dunn landed One World on the helm before a :57.1 half and plodded to the final turn with few challengers looming. By three-quarters in 1:26.2, One World accelerated upon straightening and stayed strong through the finish to win by 2-1/2 lengths over Cocktailwithakick. Chaparmbro, the 2-5 favourite, got rolling from off the speed too late but charged home for third and Glamorous Hanover took fourth.

“She’s been very nice since day one,” said trainer Lucas Wallin. “Maybe this is a little [of a] surprise, actually. I didn’t think she was capable to do a mile like this right now. I think she showed [she’s Breeders Crown material] today; that’s absolutely a race we have to aim for. We’ll see how she comes out of this race – if we race next week, or if we skip that then we’ll focus on Breeders Crown.”

Al Libfeld owns One World, a daughter of Muscle Hill with two wins from seven starts and $87,500 banked. She paid $11.90 to win.

Driver Andy McCarthy perched 3-5 favourite Buy A Round on cover to the top of the stretch and soared home to a 1:53.3 victory going away in the third division.

Sadbirdstillsing zipped to the lead to a :29 first quarter before yielding command to Sierra Girl in the backstretch, all while McCarthy tucked Buy A Round into fifth. Sierra Girl stormed up the backside to a :56.4 half and slowed through the final turn as The Roxbury pounced out of fourth and marched uncovered with Buy A Round in tow.

The Roxbury slid to the lead after three-quarters in 1:25.4 but was no match for Buy A Round when McCarthy fed her racetrack in the lane. Buy A Round scooted 2-3/4 lengths clear of The Roxbury to the line while Sierra Girl clung to third and 108-1 shot Spy Coast claimed fourth.

“This filly’s great, really fast,” said McCarthy. “She’s a Walner, so we have to be a little careful about her not going too fast early. But I think she’s kind of calming down. She got kind of hot on me last start there before the New Jersey Classic final, but today she was quite good.”

Buy A Round has now won four times from six starts – while never missing the board – and earned $224,250 for owner Fred Hertrich III. Noel Daley trains the daughter of Walner who paid $3.32 to win.

A maiden going into Friday, Miss I La hatched the goose egg with an 8-1 upset in the fourth division, timed in 1:53.4.

Graceful Design grabbed control to a :28 first quarter with Miss I La securing the pocket. She remained on top through a :57.3 half as undefeated French Champagne mounted a first-over bid to the final turn. And with Tactical Strike losing stride from fifth, the backfield scattered leaving the top four well clear to three-quarters in 1:26.3.

French Champagne levelled off coming into the lane, giving room for Miss I La to angle from the pocket. Graceful Design fought to hold command to the inside and kept Miss I La at bay up until the final strides, where Miss I La pushed a head in front. French Champagne held third and Dolce Amara, another five lengths behind, finished fourth.

“She raced great, but she’s raced well her entire year so far,” driver Scott Zeron said of Miss I La. “Last [race] when she was sixth [in the New Jersey Classic], I just had no room; she was very full of herself. She can be a little aggressive like some of [the Walners], but at the end of the day the speed’s there.”

Off the mark on her sixth attempt, Miss I La has now earned $59,250 for owner Kenneth Jacobs. The win by the Walner filly gave Noel Daley, to that point, his second win of three in Bluegrass action. She paid $18.96 to win.

Each division of the Norman Woolworth Memorial Bluegrass Stakes was sponsored by Arden Homestead Stable, ET Gerry and Peter Gerry, Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, Stoner Manor Inc., Menhammer Stuteri AB, Jorgen Jahre Jr., LST Stables, Lawrence DeVan and William DeVan.

Live racing resumes on Saturday, Sept. 30 at The Red Mile with 11 total Bluegrass events on the 13-race card starting at 1 p.m. (EDT). Included are three divisions for the $219,000 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes, for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings; three divisions for the $234,000 Greenshoe Bluegrass Stakes, for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings; three divisions of the $234,000 King Of The North Bluegrass Stakes, for three-year-old trotting fillies; and two divisions of the $159,000 Papi Rob Hanover Bluegrass Stakes, for three-year-old pacing fillies.

(With files from The Red Mile)

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