Sunday’s Tattersalls Pace at The Red Mile will have two $208,000 splits of nine, with check Six in the first and Racing Hill in the second. Word was that Betting Line’s connections planned to supplement him to the race, but that hasn’t happened. The $45,000 supplemental fee for the two division format apparently didn’t make sense to them.
The Tattersalls began 13 years after the Triple Crown was established around the three half-mile track races—the Jug, Cane and Messenger—and, despite its noble heritage, doesn’t have the cachet of the Meadowlands Pace or North America Cup, the two races proponents of a newly constituted Triple Crown always bring up.
An obvious tell on the lack of stature accorded the Tattersalls Pace was when in June of last year Marvin Bell, a prominent player on several fronts, proposed a revamped Triple Crown that would consist of five races: Meadowlands Pace, NA Cup, Jug, Breeders Crown and “a new race to be held at Lexington.”
The inaugural Tattersalls Pace was won by Laverne Hanover in 1969. Bill Haughton’s diminutive Tar Heel colt had won 22 of 23 starts at two and was the first two-minute two-year-old on a half. Laverne won the Tattersalls in straight heats of 1:57 and 1:57.2 against a field of thirteen. Super Wave finished second in both heats. A single win gets it done today, but that’s the norm.
The following year Columbia George won both heats in a world record 1:56 for Roland Beaulieu.
The 1971 edition was when the Tattersalls generated headlines as Albatross, who needed to be nursed through both heats by Stanley Dancer, thanks to a sudden fear of autumn leaves, became the fastest pacer in the history of the sport thanks to a pair of 1:54.4 miles, the first from the second tier 12 post. Even when he earned the rail in the second heat, Albatross fell behind the field at the start when he broke stride.
In the 47 editions of the race, ten starters, or 21%, have also won the Jug. In the 39 since the Pace came into being, nine, or 23%, have also won that stake. And in the 32 years since the NA Cup started, six, or 19%, have won both.
Rocknroll Hanover, who won a split in 2005, won the Cup and Pace, in addition to the Tattersalls. Rocknroll drew off in 1:50.3 in his division for Brian Sears and Brett Pelling. Sears and Pelling also won a split the previous year with Bulletproof’s Western Terror in a lifetime best 1:48.3.
Bettor’s Delight, who beat rival Real Desire in 1:49.4 in 2001, giving him a 7 to 1 advantage over Life Sign’s pride and joy, also won the Cup and the Jug.
Gallo Blue Chip, the 2000 winner, added the Cup and the Pace. Nick’s Fantasy, who won a split in 1995, also won the Jug. And Carlsbad Cam, the third of four winners by Cam Fella, also took the Pace in 1992.
In 1990 Beach Towel won in 1:51.3 and 1:51.1, with the latter setting a world record for a second heat. The winner of the Pace and Jug also set a single season earnings record in the Tattersalls; he topped $2 million that year.
Nihilator, who had won the Pace and Jug, had been stymied by Mother Nature in his attempt to break daddy’s all-time 1:49.1 TT mark in Springfield, and was slated to skip the second heat of the Tattersalls and take a shot at the record. That didn’t work out, but he won the race in a tepid—for him—1:51.2.
Ralph Hanover won the Pace and Jug, in addition to the Tattersalls. And 1978 winner Falcon Almahurst, who had taken the Pace, beat Flight Director in three heats for Bill Haughton. He bested the son of Flying Bret by two in 1:55.2 in the first; lost a head to that one in 1:57.2 in the second; and waited until the end to come out and nip Flight Director in 2:00.2 in the race-off.
The 1976 winner Keystone Ore also won the Jug for Stanley Dancer, as did 1972 winner Strike Out for Keith Waples. And Nero won the previous year in straight heats of 2:00.3 and 2:00 over an off track.
In 2014 He’s Watching was supplemented to the race for $45,000, despite losing three in a row prior to that. He had the misfortune to draw in against 1/5 Always B Miki, who beat Capital Account in 1:49.3. He’s Watching, who finished 66 lengths back, was diagnosed with a heart condition. JK Endofanera won the other division in 1:49.1 for Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke. 76/1 Winds Of Change finished second.
In 2013 Captaintreacherous, who won the Pace and the Cup, made it 10 wins in 11 starts as the 1/5 favorite beat Vegas Vacation in 1:47.2.
In 2012 Sweet Lou, who had disappointed after a terrific freshman campaign, winning eliminations of the Cup, Pace and Jug, but faltering in the finals, beat stablemate Hillbilly Hanover in 48.1 in the $510,300 Tattersalls Pace for Dave Palone and Ron Burke. He’d apparently been dogged by allergy issues all year and responded positively to the clean fall air in Lexington.
The Panderosa gelding Alsace Hanover, who had won the Adios, caught a break when Roll With Joe got sick and couldn’t go in 2011. Alsace took a split in 1:50 over Westwardho Hanover for Ron Pierce and Tony O’Sullivan. Hugadragon won the other one for Gingras in the same time.
Rock N Roll Heaven won the $604,000 edition in 2010 in 1:48.1 at 2/5 over One More Laugh for Dan Dube and Bruce Saunders.
Well Said was upset by If I Can Dream with Tim Tetrick in one division the previous year, while 2/5 Vintage Master scored an easy wire to wire win in 1:51.2 in the other for Dan Dube.
In 2008 Somebeachsomewhere and Art Official won the two divisions of the Tattersalls. The former in 1:47.4 and the latter in 1:48.3 for Ron Pierce and Joe Seekman. This was a week after SBSW set his 1:46.4 world record in the Bluegrass for Paul MacDonnell and Brent MacGrath.
Erv Miller won a split in 2007 with Yankee Skyscraper, when Tell All and Won The West also won, and another the previous year with Shark Gesture.
Aside from Rocknroll Hanover winning a division in 2005, American Ideal. who was supplemented to the race for $35,000 by Casie Coleman, did what SBSW would repeat three years later; he set a 1:47.4 world record for a three-year-old pacing colt in the Bluegrass, then came back and won the Tattersalls the following week in 1:49.2, both for Mark MacDonald. So, two of the premier pacing sires of the modern era, both by Western Ideal, won the race that year.
One of the greatest editions of the Tattersalls involved the 1987 battle between Laag and Jaguar Spur. The latter won the first heat in a photo and the pair finished the second in a world record 1:51.2 dead heat.
There are 56 colts eligible to next week’s 49th edition of the Tattersalls. Some like Control The Moment are retired or unable to race for one reason or another, and many more are just not good enough. Last year 12 started in a single dash for $450,000, with 11 and 12 starting from the second tier. Division leaders Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover and Freaky Feet Pete did not enter. Artspeak won from the two post in 1:47.4 for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna.