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'Manhattan' In The Limelight

Published: September 21, 2016 9:01 am ET

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Charles Wingfield will head to Thursday’s $577,000 Little Brown Jug presented by the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association with a bit of a long shot in Manhattan Beach, but the Ohio resident is hoping the colt can follow in his brother’s footsteps at the Delaware County Fairgrounds and carry him to another trip to the winner’s circle.

Manhattan Beach is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach, who entered that year’s event winless in 12 races at age three but captured the Jug in straight heats. Wingfield and his brothers Robert and Thomas are among the owners of Manhattan Beach and also were part of the Limelight Beach ownership group.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Wingfield, who lives in Kenton, about 40 miles northwest of the fairgrounds. “To win one, I was beside myself. We’re in the record book. They can’t take that away from us.

“Just to be in there is great. We’ve got a lot of family and friends coming, all behind Manhattan. I have no idea how many people are coming. The last two years I’ve set up 40 chairs. My two brothers said that’s not enough, so we set a few more up. It’s very, very exciting.”

Brothers -- equine in this case, not human -- winning the Little Brown Jug is not unprecedented. Noble Adios won the 1956 Jug two years after full brother Adios Harry won the event. And 1953 champion Keystoner was a half-brother to 1951 winner Tar Heel.

Manhattan Beach is one of five Little Brown Jug contenders from the stable of trainer Ron Burke. The colt will start in the second of two first-round heats Thursday and is 6-1 on the morning line. His division includes Tony Alagna-trained multiple-stakes-winner Racing Hill, who is the 3-5 choice in the elimination.

A horse must win two one-mile races on the same day to capture the Little Brown Jug trophy. Eleven horses entered the event for three-year-old pacers and were divided into two $92,320 first-heat eliminations. Betting Line, who brings an 11-race unbeaten streak to the fairgrounds for trainer Casie Coleman, is the 3-5 morning line favourite in the first.

The top four finishers in each elimination advance to the $276,960 second heat. If one of the two elimination winners is victorious in the second heat, he is the Jug champion. Otherwise, the three heat-winners return for a $115,400 race-off. The last race-off was in 2000, when Astreos won the event.

Manhattan Beach has won four of 16 races this year and earned $260,853 for owners Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Geoffrey Lyons Mound, and the Wingfields. Matt Kakaley will drive the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Benear from post four in the second elimination.

“I know there are a couple better than him, but it’s a horse race,” Wingfield said. “Casie’s colt looks like the horse to beat. He is just amazing. And Racing Hill looks awful tough.

“We’ll hope for the best, hope things work our way. But no matter what, it will be a lot of fun.”

The other horses from the Burke Stable are Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Check Six, Big Top Hanover, Fernando Hanover, and Stolen Glimpse.

The fields for the opening heat of the Little Brown Jug appear below.

First elimination-Purse $92,320
HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
1. Dr J Hanover-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna-6/1
2. Stolen Glimpse-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1
3. Lyons Snyder-Sylvain Filion-Jimmy Takter-8/1
4. Check Six-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-2/1
5. Betting Line-David Miller-Casie Coleman-3/5
6. Fernando Hanover-Tim Tetrick-Ron Burke-12-1

Second elimination-Purse $92,320
HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
1. Western Fame-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-4/1
2. Racing Hill-Brett Miller-Tony Alagna-3/5
3. Big Top Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-15/1
4. Manhattan Beach-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-6/1
5. Spider Man Hanover-Andy Miller-Nick Surick-20/1


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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