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Major In Art Aces Metro Pace

Published: August 30, 2008 8:50 pm ET

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Major In Art, expertly handled by Brian Sears, emerged from a tense four-horse battle in late stretch to capture the $1 million Metro Pace, the richest harness race in the world for two-year-olds, Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack.

Sent postward the 5-2 second choice in an extremely well-matched group of juveniles, Major In Art, one of three elim winners last week, surprisingly blasted to the front at the start, reaching the first quarter in a lively :26.4.

But Sears relinquished the lead to the speedy Annieswesterncard, the 9-5 favourite with driver Yannick Gingras, who had won the fastest elim last Saturday, as they reached the half in :55.2, only to be challenged by Well Said and driver Ron Pierce in a duel around the far turn.

When the field straightened for home, Annieswesterncard had repulsed the bid from Well Said and still held a narrow margin as the three-quarters was timed in 1:22.4. But Sears had tipped Major In Art out for the stretch drive and in a thrilling battle to the wire, pulled away late from the pack, holding a closing Nebupanezzar, the other elim winner, safe by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.2. Annieswesterncard hung on for third, two lengths behind the winner.

Major In Art - Metro Pace Final

It was the second Metro win for Sears, who steered longshot Rocknroll Hanover to an upset win in 2004, but the first for owner Major In Art Stable of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania and trainer Justin Lebo.

The ultra consistent Major In Art was notching his fifth win in six outings. The son of Art Major was the field's leading money winner coming into the Metro, most of it generated by his three-quarter length win in the $350,000 Woodrow Wilson, August 1 at the Meadowlands, which he took in a career best 1:50.4.

"He did it on raw talent in the Wilson," said Sears. "He did it on his manners tonight. I got the trip I needed. When I called on him, he was good. He was good in the hole, relaxed good, so I can't take anything away from him. It was a very competitive field. They were doing some racing…and it worked out. He's a big strong colt. He's just learning every start."

Last year, champion Somebeachsomewhere used the Metro as his coming out party. Tonight, Major In Art joined a roster of Metro winners, which also includes Artsplace, Presidential Ball, Mach Three and Jeremes Jet in its 21 editions.

With the $500,000 first place prize, Major In Art pushed his bankroll to $726,400.

Straight Shooting, driven by John Campbell, got the job done, as expected, in the $100,000 Metro Pace Consolation for two-year-olds, Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack.

The 6-5 post time favourite fired down the middle of the lane to overhaul pacesetter Vertigo Hanover, posting a two and one-quarter length score in 1:52.4. It was the second win in four starts for the son of Western Terror, who had eventful trips in his two previous outings at Mohawk.

He'd made a break at the start of a conditioned event on August 16, then, in one of last week's Metro elims, had the misfortune of suffering an equipment break in mid-stretch while moving to challenge the leaders, thus failing to qualify for the $1 million final later this evening.

Tonight, there was no doubt about his superiority as he silenced his nine rivals. Vertigo Hanover and driver Luc Ouellette took over from Fireintheshark after an opening 27- second first quarter, and proceeded to lead the field through a half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.2.

Despite having a length and a half lead in early stretch, Vertigo Hanover was unable to fend off the late charge by Straight Shooting, who had moved following cover from fifth off the far turn, but held the place award over a closing Vintage Master.

Owned by Bulletproof Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida and trained by Richard Norman, Straight Shooting picked up a $50,000 pot.

To view Saturday's results, click here.


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