Focusing exclusively on the high dollar splits of the Bluegrass during the first four days of the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet, Jimmy Takter won a third of them—eight of the 24. He also had a pair of second place finishes and one third. We’re talking about a cool $600,000 in purse money. Takter himself, Scott Zeron, Ron Pierce and Yannick Gingras all won divisions for that barn. The latter won seven for Takter and others. Overall, David Miller was third with four and Scott Zeron won three.
Ron Burke followed Takter from a distance with three Bluegrass wins. Strangely enough, trainers 3-10 on the money list accounted for only two wins. Number three on that list, Erv Miller, doesn’t really play in that sandbox. Regardless, he had no board finishes. Tony Alagna had one win, with the freshman sensation Artspeak, while Julie Miller also had one. Casie Coleman, whose star McWicked is not staked to the Bluegrass or the Tattersalls Pace, had one second.
Ake Svanstedt’s first weekend at Lexington was a disappointment, as he failed to win a Bluegrass division and had to settle for a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds. He won a late closer with Opulent Yankee today, but he didn’t go down there for that.
Takter set himself up nicely for next week with convincing wins by his stars: Father Patrick, Nuncio, Shake It Cerry, Wild Honey and Uncle Lasse. Lifetime Pursuit just got caught in a world record mile.
Jolene Jolene, who won in a time three seconds faster than Wild Honey did, set up the Muscle Hill vs Cantab Hall brawl we’ve become accustomed to in 2014, but Donato Hanover also had an excellent meet. As a matter of fact, he was tops with four winners. And two of the Donato’s were colts—Uncle Lasse and The Bank.
Burke got a “prove it” win with his under the radar Art Major colt, Cartoon Daddy, who broke stride in the Sheppard but won the NYSS final. He was in and out this year and needed his Bluegrass win. Limelight Beach also proved his Jug win was no fluke. He and He’s Watching are not listed among the eligibles to the Tattersalls Pace, while Always B Miki, who went a sensational 1:47.4 mile, is staked to it. I believe the cost of supplementing is $60,000. The connections of Limelight and Watching may have already done that. Wellwood winner Habitat also made another strong showing for Burke.
The Pine Chip stallion Enjoy Lavec is certainly the weekend’s most celebrated broodmare sire. World record producing Muscles Yankee filly, Cee Bee Yes, is out of an Enjoy Lavec mare, as is Father Patrick (Cantab Hall). Hot shot Billy Flynn (Cantab Hall), who made it 8 for 8 in his Bluegrass split, is also the product of an Enjoy Lavec mare. As are Pastor Stephen—Father Patrick’s brother—and Uncle Peter (Cantab Hall). Smilin Eli, like Cee Bee Yes, is by Muscles Yankee out of an Enjoy Lavec mare.
Tony Alagna’s Western Ideal colt Artspeak wowed us again, but a 25/1 shot named In The Arsenal won another split in 1:49.4 for Brian Sears. He’s by American ideal, who gave us hot shot freshman He’s Watching last year and Heston Blue Chip a couple back. In The Arsenal’s dam is 23-years-old. His brother Exquisite Art won a heat of the 2001 Jug for David Miller and his sister is the dam of another Bluegrass winner, Rollwithitharry.