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Sophomores Seek Bluegrass Sunday

Published: September 27, 2019 4:16 pm ET

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Harness racing's top three-year-olds compete on the Sunday (Sept. 29) card at The Red Mile, which features three Bluegrass divisions for sophomore pacing colts and two splits for both three-year-old trotting colts and fillies.

North America Cup winner Captain Crunch fronts the opening division of the $267,400 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes, sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms. The millionaire Captaintreacherous colt looks to rebound off a fourth-place finish in the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. Scott Zeron steers the Nancy Johansson trainee from post five for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.

Messenger Stakes champ American Mercury tops the second Bluegrass colt pace division off a third-place effort in the $384,000 second heat of the Little Brown Jug. With over $500,000 earned for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice, the American Ideal gelding starts from post three in rein to Tyler Buter.

Bettors Wish, another millionaire, starts from post six in the third division. The Chris Ryder-trained son of Bettors Delight failed to qualify for the Little Brown Jug after finishing second in the Messenger Stakes. He rebounded two weeks later with a three-length 1:48.1 victory in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Final. Regular pilot Dexter Dunn sits in the bike for owners Chris Ryder, Bell Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners.

Hambletonian Oaks favourite and runner-up Millies Possesion will face off against Oaks winner When Dovescry in the first of two divisions for the $218,000 Bar Hopping Bluegrass Stakes, sponsored by the Bar Hopping Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms.

Nearing $500,000 in earnings, Millies Possesion has one loss from 11 starts, which came when chasing When Dovescry in a 1:50.2 mile on the first Saturday in August. She returned to the races to cap a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes sweep with a 1:53.4 mile in the $253,000 championship. Jim Campbell conditions the daughter of Possess The Will for owner-breeder Fashion Farms LLC. Dexter Dunn will drive.

When Dovescry returned to the track one month after winning the Hambletonian Oaks, taking a $63,772 Simcoe Stakes division going wire-to-wire in 1:54.4. She raced first over as the odds-on favourite in the 2019 Elegantimage Final but faltered to third in her most recent mile. Simon Allard will drive the Muscle Hill filly from post six for trainer and brother Rene Allard, who conditions the winner of $663,884 for owners Go Fast Stable, Yves Sarrazin, Kapildeo Singh and Lawrence Dumain.

Evident Beauty leads the second Bar Hopping division off back-to-back Grand Circuit victories. Winning the Elegantimage final from off the speed, the Trixton filly shipped south to Hoosier Park, where she won as the 1-2 favourite in the $135,000 Moni Maker Trot. Richard “Nifty” Norman trains the winner of $820,963 for owners Mel Hartman, Little E LLC and R A W Equine Inc. David Miller will drive from post three.

The first division of the $192,200 International Moni Bluegrass Stakes, sponsored by the International Moni Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms, features Marcus Melander’s star trotter Greenshoe in the $96,100 opening split. The Father Patrick colt, who would become a millionaire with a victory, has won his three starts following a runner-up finish in the $1,000,000 Hambletonian. His most recent victory was a 1:50.3 effort in the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes final. Greenshoe races for owners Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist and Morten Langli, and the sophomore will have Brian Sears in the bike from post three.

Melander’s other trotting star, Green Manalishi S, starts from post six in the second split of the International Moni. The Muscle Hill colt, owned by Courant Inc., surpassed $1,000,000 in earnings with a 1:52.4 victory in the 2019 Canadian Trotting Classic final. Tim Tetrick will guide Green Manalishi S as he competes against Pilot Discretion, the Tony Alagna-trained Muscle Hill colt who finished second in the Canadian Trotting Classic. Andrew McCarthy drives Pilot Discretion from post eight for owners Robert Leblanc, David Anderson and John Fodera.

The 10-race Sunday card at The Red Mile opens with three late-closing events, two on the pace and one on the trot. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

(with files from The Red Mile)

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