Hot Shot Blue Chip became harness racing's newest millionaire after he won a stretch battle with Chapter Seven to take the $200,000 Credit Winner Trot in 1:51.2 on Friday night (Sept. 7) at Vernon Downs.
Owned by Thomas Dillon and trained by Jonas Czernyson, the six-year-old gelded son of Revenue S-Hustle N Muscle was driven to the victory by Corey Callahan. The win was the third in 14 season's starts and 19th lifetime for Hot Blue Chip, who has now banked more than $1.06 million in his career.
Mister Herbie and Jody Jamieson went to the front from the outside post four in this compact field, but yielded to Chapter Seven and Tim Tetrick past the opening quarter in :26.3, followed by Hot Shot Blue Chip in third and Arch Madness, driven by Trond Smedshammer, in fourth.
The 1-2 favourite then proceeded to post middle fractions of :55.3 and 1:24.4.
Callahan sent Hot Shot Blue Chip to the outside from third heading down the backstretch and was second on the rim as the field headed into the final turn.
From there Hot Shot Blue Chip shot to the front at the top of the lane and then held off a late rally from Chapter Seven to win in a photo finish in 1:51.2, just a fifth of a second off San Pail's all-age track mark of 1:51.1, set in last year's edition of the Credit Winner. Arch Madness finished third, while Mister Herbie settled for fourth.
Hot Shot Blue Chip paid $20 to win as the third choice.
"It's only a four-horse race and I knew I was going to get a shot at it at some point," said Callahan. "I left out of there a little bit [from the rail] just to get position and made Timmy go on to get to the lead, just to soften him up a little bit.
"I just wanted to sit as long as possible and as soon as I felt Trond kind of nudge off my back, I just went ahead and made my move and the horse did the rest. He's a super horse.
"This horse has a lot of trot to him. I mean you don't make a million dollars not being able to trot a quarter in :26. We were fresh when we came at them and we were ready to go."
Trond Smedshammer picked up a rare catch-drive later in the $191,000 Muscle Hill for older trotting mares and made it count when he steered Beatgoeson Hanover to a 1:54 victory.
Owned by Neven Botica and trained by Nifty Norman, the winner is a four-year-old daughter of Andover Hall out of world champion Beat The Wheel. The win was her fifth of the season and 18th in 39 lifetime starts, with her career earnings now just shy of the $900,000 plateau.
Beatgoeson Hanover got away in fourth place as Pembroke Heat Wave and Jody Jamieson took the field to the opening quarter in :28.2. Cedar Dove and Tim Tetrick were the first to move, pulling from third past the quarter and taking over the lead at the :57.4 half-mile marker.
Cedar Dove was still in front at the 1:25.4 three-quarter pole, with Action Broadway and Rick Plano putting on the pressure on the outside.
Heading down the lane, Beatgoeson Hanover had plenty of trot in the middle of the racetrack and was first to the wire in 1:54. Four Damsals and Chris Lems also rallied to finish second. Pembroke Heat Wave finished third, but was placed back to fourth for a pylon violation. Fourth place finisher Magic Wheel was subsequently moved up to third for Corey Callahan. Action Broadway wound up fifth and Cedar Dove faded to sixth.
"Yeah, that's unusual," said Smedshammer when asked about picking up the catch-drive on Beatgoeson Hanover. "I'll take them any way I can get them.
"I got away fourth and I thought I was in a good spot. The horse [Action Broadway] came on the outside there and it forced Tetrick to go on [with Cedar Dove]. I realized he [Tetrick] wasn't going to turn that horse loose and I followed her and it worked out good. She took me to the top of the stretch and it was a perfect trip for me."
Beatgoeson Hanover paid $15.80 to win.
Two-year-old pacing filly Canary Island (Somebeachsomewhere-Duck Duck Goose) won the Historic Series' $64,600 Debutante Stake in 1:52.2 with Jody Jamieson aboard for the Rick Zeron Stables and Hutt Racing Stable. She paid $14.60 to win.
(With files from USTA)