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Extra, Extra! Sportswriter Wins Metro


Published: September 5, 2009 9:50 pm ET

Last Comment: September 6, 2009 5:16 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Kicking off a star-studded stakes-packed night of harness racing that also included the Shes A Great Lady, Canadian Pacing Derby and divisions of the Simcoe, Sportswriter and driver Mark MacDonald tipped off cover at the head of the lane and guaranteed themselves headlines with a 1:49.2 World Record score in the $1 million Metro Pace for two-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night.

Malicious (Paul MacDonell) showed early gate speed leaving from the inside post with Delmarvalous (Brian Sears) moving up within striking distance from a Post 7 start. Refusing to fill the pocket, Delmarvalous drove on to claim the top spot after a swift :26 opening quarter.

Delmarvelous led the way past the half in :53 and three-quarters in 1:21 while Woodstock (Tim Tetrick) advanced first-over providing Sportswriter and MacDonald with cover. In the stretch, the son of Artsplace-Precious Beauty angled out and kicked home to win in a World Record clocking of 1:49.2. Sportswriter’s winning time edged the shared 1:49.3 mark co-held by Somebeachsomewhere (set in the 2007 Metro) and Sheer Desire (2008).

Owned by Steve Calhoun of Chatham and West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Ont., bred by James Avritt of Lebanon, Kentucky and trained by Casie Coleman, favoured Sportswriter won by two lengths over Rock N Roll Heaven (Dan Dube) and Rock Me Please (Steve Condren) in North America's most lucrative stake race for freshmen pacers.

“It’s unbelievable,” said an ecstatic MacDonald. “I’ve been knocking on the door in million dollar races. I’ve been second and third. But tonight I thought I had a really good shot. I was really confident. Casie always does her homework and had the horse ready.”

Last week, Sportswriter tipped his hand, taking the fastest elim in 1:51, while overcoming the nine-hole.

“They’ve been telling me all year long what a good horse he was. I loved him from the get-go,” continued MacDonald. “He’s just a special horse. I was a little concerned going into the first turn. I had to back up and give the seven horse a hole. It just worked out great. Huge fractions. I got to follow a great colt in Woodstock. [Around the far turn] he felt pretty good, he felt like a winner. But I didn’t want to get too overconfident.”

Added Coleman, “I knew we had the right horse. [Sportswriter] did everything right. He couldn’t have had a better week. Since Day 1, this horse had been absolutely amazing. It’s a dream come true. I’ve been calling him Seabiscuit since the day I bought him [for $50,000]. Mark worked out a perfect trip.

“I didn’t even have this colt marked in my [Harrisburg] Yearling Sale book. Same with Art Colony. Saw him at the sale. Fell in love with him and had to have him. So far so good.

“We drew the nine hole in the elim, I told Mark it was never more important time to win a race [since the winners could then choose their posts for the Metro final]. [Tonight] it was a perfect post [the three hole]. There was a big speed duel up front. He got away fifth, then was second over-cover. It couldn’t have went anymore perfect. It was absolutely amazing.”

Undefeated in five starts, Sportswriter now boasts a bankroll totaling $605,196.

Dr Dreamy got back to his winning ways Saturday evening at Mohawk, taking the $100,000 Metro Pace Consolation rather effortlessly, in a career best 1.51.2.

Sent postward a prohibitive 4-5 choice, Dr Dreamy, handled by Brian Sears, immediately went to the front and proceeded to wire the field, through fractions of :27.1, :54.4 and 1:23, while being challenged by Wellthereyougo (Dave Miller) through the second and third quarters.

After putting that rival away turning for home, Dr Dreamy quickly opened several lengths and coasted the rest of the way under a snug hold from Sears, winning by two and three-quarter lengths, easily repelling a late charge from Piece Of The Rock (Roger Mayotte). BP Chimo (John Campbell) wound up third.

Last week, Dr Dreamy, a two-year-old son of Art Major, suffered his first defeat after winning his first five outings, including a Nassagaweya division, finishing seventh to Woodstock in one of the Metro Pace elims, after leaving from the eight-hole.

Trained by Delaware’s Brenda Teague and co-owned by her brother George Teague, Jr., along with Theodore Gewertz, Dr Dreamy has now banked more than $168,000 in a sparkling juvenile campaign to date.

Dr Dreamy paid 3.80 to win.

Put On A Show Is A Great Lady

The 3-5 favourite, Put On A Show, survived a fierce scrimmage at the wire to capture the $810,300 Shes A Great Lady Stakes for two-year-old filly pacers, at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday.

The lead changed hands on multiple occasions throughout the mile, with early leader Panagler (Steve Condren) giving way to Dancinwiththestarz (Yannick Gingras) and then Rock N Soul (George Brennan) as the fillies stepped through fractions of :27.1, :55.1, and 1:23.2. You See L A and John Campbell put pressure on Rock N Soul from the outside but failed to clear, and as the field turned for home a rush of eager lasses surged forward, with Higher And Higher (Jack Moiseyev) and Put On A Show (Jody Jamieson) both surpassing Rock N Soul while Fancy Filly (Brian Sears)
also making a huge move from the backfield.

When the dust cleared, it was Put On A Show who had prevailed from the far outside by a quarter of a length, with Higher And Higher second and Fancy Filly third. The winning time was 1:52.

Put On A Show, a two-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, is now perfect in five lifetime starts for conditioner Chris Ryder and owners Richard Young and Craig Henderson. She was a $75,000 yearling purchase and has now earned just shy of $500,000 for her connections.

“I wanted to be somewhere in the middle of the pack, where I could catch cover,” commented Jamieson. “Going around the last turn I thought to myself, ‘this is the trip, let’s see if she’s up to it’, and she was.

“She was a little steppy on the back-side of the track – it’s lightning fast and that means it’s a little bit harder than usual. I think it was taking its toll on her, so she was a little steppy and I had to be careful with her. When I tipped her three-wide I wanted to follow cover as long as I could. I knew she could give me one big kick and it was just enough, actually, to get to the wire.

“Jackie Mo’s filly [Higher And Higher] is only on her second or third lifetime start so she was fabulous in her own right, but my filly showed last week that she’s a killer. It’s huge [to win the Shes A Great Lady]. It’s the only one I’m in tonight of the three big ones and it’s just awesome getting it done.”

Native Doll upset 3-5 favourite Casino Nights (John Campbell) in the $50,000 She’s A Great Lady Consolation. Dave Miller guided the daughter of Allamerican Native to the neck victory for trainer Mark Capone and New York owners Michael Butler and Samir Tawil in 1:51.4.

Shark Gesture Swallows Rivals In Canadian Pacing Derby

Shark Gesture, driven by George Brennan, equalled the track record of 1:48.1, while wiring nine rivals in the prestigious $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack.

With the afternoon scratch of speedster Shadow Play, the morning line 5-2 second choice, due to sickness, the complexion of the race changed dramatically and Brennan, leaving from the nine-hole with the 6-1 shot, took full advantage.

Shark Gesture, who earlier in the year had captured the William Haughton at The Meadowlands in similar fashion, blazed an opening quarter in :26 seconds, before getting to the half in :53 seconds flat, while being chased by first Art Official (Peter Wrenn), then favourite Won the West (Jim Morrill, Jr.), who had moved outside to challenge the leader before the half but remained parked throughout.

After putting away Won the West, Shark Gesture turned it on, reaching the three-quarters in 1:20.3 and opening several lengths on the finest older pacers on the continent. From there, it was clear sailing, as the six-year-old son of champion Cams Card Shark reached the wire two lengths in front of closers Bettor Sweet (John Campbell) and defending champion Mister Big (Brian Sears).

“He’s been doing it his whole career,” said Brennan. “Every year, except the year he stood stud, of course. At two, three, four and now. He’s tough as nails. To get him on the front like that, it takes a real good one to pass him. That’s what he likes.

“It was a surprise [to get the drive],” continued Brennan, who replaced regular driver Tim Tetrick for trainer Gordon Remmen. “Timmy’s been doing very well with him. But if Shark Gesture’s out there for anybody, I’ll take him.”

With the $342,500 purse to the winner, Shark Gesture upped his career bankroll to over $1.9 million, while winning his 19th race. He joined a Canadian Pacing Derby winners roster, which includes such recent champions as Lis Mara, Art Major, Real Desire, Gallo Blue Chip and Western Ideal.

As the fourth choice behind 6-5 favourite Won the West, who backed up to finish eighth, Shark Gesture paid $15.60, $8.90 and $6, combining with Bettor Sweet ($7, $5) for a $99.70 (9-6) exactor. A 9-6-5 (Mister Big, $4.60 to show) triactor fashioned a $796 payoff, while a $1 Superfecta [9-6-5-1 (Silent Swing)] was worth $4,301.55.

Simcoe Stakes Record Falls

Neighsay Hanover overcame Post 9 to win the first of two $142,153 divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack Saturday evening.

Dave Miller sent Winning Mister to the early lead off the wings with Sedona Canyon and Paul MacDonell following Miller’s helmet. From third, Cesar A Blue Chip was put in motion by John Campbell at the half and easily took command, but couldn’t hold off Neighsay Hanover and Brian Sears, who rushed up on the outside to steal the victory by three quarters of a length in 1:53.2.

P J Clark (Andy Miller) stepped up for second and Cesar A Blue Chip hung on for third.

Neighsay Hanover, a son of Muscles Yankee, is trained by Trond Smedshammer for Ted Gewertz, Willow Pond LLC, Leif Alber, and Martha Frank. This was his second win in 14 starts this season. Tonight’s cheque will push his earnings over the $300,000 mark.

“He got away in a pretty decent spot,” said Sears, who had to withdraw from driving Muscle Hill in the World Trotting Derby earlier today when that race was delayed by the weather in DuQuoin, Illinois. “I didn’t know if I was going to have to come first-over, but Paul [MacDonell] elected to pull, so it worked out good.

“The horse is really coming into his own right now. He was a little green once I got to the front – he might have been looking at the lights -- and he kind of let up on me for a few steps, but he felt good for most of the race.”

Commenting on his ‘interesting day’, Sears added, “It was a very tough spot to be in [having to leave to race at Mohawk while the World Trotting Derby suffered further delays]. I would have hated to leave some owners and trainers hanging on a big night like this. I think Muscle Hill is a good enough horse that he will get it done tonight and I wish them all the luck in the world.”

Big Bikkies took home all the cookies in the second Simcoe division, setting a stakes record of 1:53.1 in the process.

Ron Pierce sent Big Bikkies straight to the front of the bus off the gate, and the colt led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.2, and 1:25.1 with Truth In Action (Tim Tetrick) in the pocket spot and Federal Flex (Jody Jamieson) third. Federal Flex made a bid for the lead at the 5/8 pole, but still couldn’t locate the dominant form he displayed as a two-year-old, and Big Bikkies kicked away in the stretch to win by three and three-quarters lengths.

Duded Up (Steve Condren) made a big step up to grab second, and Truth In Action stayed for third.

Big Bikkies, a son of Windsongs Legacy out of Sheza Hot Cookie, has won four of eight lifetime starts for owner/breeders Adam Victor and Sons Stable of New York, New York. Mike Vanderkemp trains.

Pierce remarked, “This colt has had some experience but he still acts awful green. That was the easiest way to get him around there tonight [to go straight to the lead].

“He relaxes nice once he gets to the lead. I wasn’t surprised [that he had that kind of kick in the stretch] – this is a fast colt and he had plenty left in his tank. He could have gone plenty more.”

Miss Scarlett Upsets In Mares Open

Miss Scarlett rewarded her backers with a nice payday when she pulled off a 19-1 upset in Saturday night’s $44,000 Fillies & Mares Open Pace at Mohawk Racetrack in line to Rick Zeron.

As expected, Breeders Crown champion and 6-5 favourite Hana Hanover (Randy Waples), left quickly from Post 4 and took the field to the opening quarter in :27, but during the second interval, Miss Scarlett used a quick brush of speed to claim the lead from fourth. The four-year-old Red River Hanover-Odds On J P mare was at the half in :56.1 and stepped on the accelerator as she headed to three-quarters in 1:24.1. In the stretch, no one could catch the Rousell MacKenzie pupil as she crossed the wire with a length and a quarter lead on the field equaling her mark of 1:50.4.

Hana Hanover held for second and To Helen Back (Mike Saftic) survived a first-over trip to finish third.

Miss Scarlett earned her fifth win in 21 seasonal starts lifting her earnings to $96,498 for owners Charles, Julie and Francene Nash of Lexington, Kentucky. The bay’s 10th lifetime score increased her earnings to $393,171.

Hyperion Hanover Equals Mark In Preferred Pace

With regular reinsman Rick Zeron in the bike, Hyperion Hanover made a winning maneuver in the stretch to take the $40,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack.

Bolero Charles (Dave Miller) blasted off the gate from Post 3 and set up shop on the front end with the favoured Ramegade Bruiser (Jody Jamieson) and Hyperion Hanover tracking in second and third. Bolero Charles flashed an opening quarter of :26.3 before taking a second quarter breather. After the :54.2 half, Balanchine (Brian Sears) moved to the outside from fourth flushing Ramegade Bruiser from the pocket by three-quarters in 1:22.2. Down the stretch, the favourite gained the upper hand, but as Bolero Charles drifted off the rail, Hyperion Hanover unleashed a :26.2 final frame to come on for the win by a nose equaling his mark of 1:49.2. Bolero Charles finished third.

Hyperion Hanover, a six-year-old gelded son of Camluck-Hattie, scored his fifth win of the year in 26 starts lifting his earnings to $178,750. The winner of 26 races and $762,543 lifetime is trained by Rob Fellows and owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, New York.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click here.

(With files from WEG)

September 6, 2009 - 5:16 amCongratulations to the all

Anne Stepien SAID...

Congratulations to the all the connections of Sportsmaster on another gem of a race in a flawless season! He was one of the best looking pacing colts at Harrisburg last year....glad the stars aligned and he ended up where he is! Continued best wishes that he stays physically and emotionally healthy for the rest of his racing career :)

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