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Tense Moments For Art Official In Jug Elim

Published: September 18, 2008 3:40 pm ET

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World Record holder Art Official rebounded for an eventful quarter-length victory in the third division of the first heat of the Little Brown Jug for driver Ron Pierce and trainer Joe Seekman.

The victory, clocked in 1:52.3, had some nervous moments for the connections and punters, alike.

After leaving well from the rail, Art Official broke stride along the cones going into the first turn. Pierce reset the son of Art Major and tucked him into the three-hole. After the :26.4 opening quarter, Pierce moved Art Official first over, but Santanna Blue Chip and driver Jody Jamieson, who were on the lead, had a different idea.

Jamieson and 'Santanna' left the Meadowlands Pace winner on the outside the rest of the way, through the :54.2 half-mile marker and 1:23.2 three-quarters pole.

Showing determination in the final quarter-mile, Art Official would eventually get up on the pacesetter. Santanna Blue Chip finished second. Goddesss Justin (driven by Tim Tetrick) finished third.

"I got him a little too close to the cones when scoring. They're really high and were casting shadows about three and a half or four feet out on the track," Pierce said about Art Official making a break before the dash while in post parade. "In the race (when he made the break) I think we may have just hit that turn going a little too fast."

Pierce mentioned that after the break in the race, Art Official didn't feel 100 per cent.

"Not a hundred per cent. No. No he wasn't. I've seen this colt a lot better than what he is today. We'll see what happens. I'm sure Joe will make some adjustments for the final. Hopefully they'll get the ripples out of him," said Pierce.

"We know he can go fast enough, so it's just a question of getting those ripples out of him. Hopefully we'll be alright for the final."

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