A seven-race card will kick off the second week of the Grand Circuit fortnight at the Red Mile, as three divisions of the $276,300 International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts will be the highlight of the Thursday (Oct. 3) card.
Rome Pays Off headlines the opening division after having finished third in a $105,500 division of Bluegrass. The Marcus Melander-trained Muscle Hill colt closed from last with a :27.1 final quarter to finish eight lengths behind the winner. Brother Mattias Melander will remain in the sulky and pilot the winner of $177,494 for owner S R F Stable.
Amigo Volo, who gave trainer Carter Pinske his first Grand Circuit victory, will start from the outermost post in the field of seven in the second of the International Stallion Stakes splits. Dexter Dunn piloted the Father Patrick gelding to a seven-length victory in a division of the Bluegrass and stopped the clock in 1:52.3, which lowered the world record for a freshman trotting gelding. Dunn will again drive the winner of $168,646 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller.
Dunn also drove E L Ideal – who is set to race from Post 3 in the second division – to a maiden-breaking 1:52.2 victory in the Bluegrass last week. The Ake Svanstedt-trained Muscle Hill colt races for Emp Invest Oy and will have Andy Miller in the bike.
Real Cool Sam, who will be looking to remain unbeaten, fronts the final division. With victories including a 1:53.1 victory in the $324,550 Peter Haughton Memorial and—more recently—a 1:53.4 win in the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship, the Fashion Farms homebred has accrued $420,038 in earnings. David Miller will maintain the reins and steer the Jim Campbell trainee from Post 5.
Gangster Hanover, who romped by nine and a quarter lengths in his Bluegrass split, will start from Post 7 in the final division. Last week, trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt launched the Father Patrick colt after the pacesetter circling the final turn and sprinted to the finish in :26.2 to win in a lifetime-best 1:52.3. Svanstedt, who co-owns the colt, will stay in the bike behind the winner of $114,522 for co-owners S R F Stable and Brittany Farms.
Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Ready For Moni will try to rebound as he faces Real Cool Sam from Post 3. The Per Engblom-trained colt by Ready Cash led most of the mile in his $105,500 division of Bluegrass last week before jumping and veering into the safety lane through the stretch. He has earned $161,500 from six starts for owners John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield, and will have Jimmy Takter in the bike.
The Thursday, October 3 program also features three late-closing events for two-year-old trotting fillies and a single late-closing race for two-year-old pacing fillies. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).