The most lucrative races ever offered for Massachusetts-bred Standardbreds will be contested at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 30) when the eligibles for the $800,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) finals convene.
Eight $100,000 divisions will head postward starting at 1:30 p.m. when the first of two non-betting events will start. The regular pari-mutuel program will begin at 2 p.m. and will feature six more MASS contests that have been carded as Race 1 through 6.
Trainer George Ducharme, who is a native of Walpole, Massachusetts, will be bringing the largest contingent of entrants to the finals, as nine of his students will head postward. They include the series’ undefeated three-year-old trotting filly Ithinkthatsmine and two-year-old trotting gelding Simple Kaos.
Ithinkthatsmine (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) was three for three in the preliminary legs and she won them by a combined 17 lengths. For the year, she has nine wins in 16 starts and having already competed in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS), has $112,280 on her card.
Shawn Gray will team Ithinkthatsmine once again in the non-betting event.
Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia) won his three legs by a combined 14 lengths and has pocketed $73,750 this year. He has had random breaks throughout the year, but when he behaves himself, has looked peerless.
Jimmy Whittemore will team Simple Kaos who is the 3-5 morning choice.
Other undefeated horses coming into the final are Im A Clown, Victorias Maverick and Karans Choice.
Three-year-old pacing gelding Im A Clown (Im Gorgeous-Lordy Miss Scarlet) has been devastating in the MASS so far, as he has trounced his competition by over 24 lengths. He will be looking for his fourth consecutive win on Tuesday.
Mitchell Cushing will be up in the rigging again and has been tabbed as the early 7-5 favourite.
Much like Im A Clown, two-year-old pacing gelding Victorias Maverick's (Western Maverick-Perfect Launch) three wins came with a 16-length total margin of victory, and his competitors have not been able to get close in this series. Despite an outside draw for the final, he still looks like the one to beat once again.
Heath Campbell looks to have another big week behind the favoured 3-5 Victorias Maverick.
Two-year-old pacing mare Karans Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) won her first two legs easily, but just got up to catch Cominrightatyou (Western Maverick-Express Ball N) last week. The well-seasoned first-year competitor raced in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) this summer and knows what it takes to seal the deal.
Jim Hardy will perform the driving duties in the non-betting event.
Where some of these races may appear somewhat one-sided, there are several events that will offer solid match-ups that should provide close finishes and value betting.
In the two-year-old trotting filly split, Taylor Swiftly (Trixton-True Diva) won her first start in the series last week after having shipped in from Lexington, but for a while she was chasing the quickly improving Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who had a two-length lead in the last turn before making an untimely break. Had she stayed flat that race could have gone a different direction.
Scott Zeron will team the 3-5 Taylor Swiftly while the 7-2 Crystalline will be driven by Shawn Gray.
The three-year-old trotting males division has been a heavyweight match between Hashtagmadeyalook (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) who has won twice and Kinda Lucky Lindy (Lucky Chucky-Kinda Crazy Lindy) who won their last match-up last week. They will square off once again here with the title on the line.
Shawn Gray will drive Hashtagmadeyalook at 6-5 and Scott Zeron will team Kinda Lucky Lindy at 9-5.
And finally the three-headed monster in the three-year-old pacing filly division features Delco Dusty (Jeremes Jet-Gypsys Good Girl), Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Western Maverick-Heather K) and Rock Me Threetimes (Rock N Roll Heaven-Love Rocks) who have all finished in the top three in all three legs. This may be the best race all day and who wins this week probably depends on how the race unfolds.
Delco Dusty (Shawn Gray) is 7-5, Gonna Hear Me Rohr (Drew Campbell) is 8-5 and Rock Me Threetimes (Mitchell Cushing) is 5-2.
Tuesday will also see Plainridge Park play host to the richest Standardbred in the history of the sport. The $7.59 million winner Foiled Again will make a farewell tour stop at ‘The Ridge’ on Tuesday afternoon as part of the biggest day of harness racing in Massachusetts this year.
Foiled Again’s lifetime win count now stands at 105 as he comes to Plainridge off his victory at Harrington Raceway. Foiled Again has been in New England before, as he won his 103rd lifetime victory at the Windsor Fair in Maine last month, and in 2009 when he won the Beckwith pace in 1:50.4 at Plainridge with Dave Palone driving.
Owned by Burke Racing, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and JJK Stables and trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again will not compete in a race on Tuesday. However he will go a training mile in front of the crowd, lead several post parades and greet his fans in the winner’s circle for pictures.
And if that weren't enough, to add even more entertainment value to the program, the fans on hand can look forward to gift card giveaways after every stakes race throughout the day sponsored by the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts.
(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)