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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week One of the Lexington Grand Circuit Meet

Tim Tetrick was the top driver at the first four-day split of the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile. He won four divisions of the Bluegrass, with four different trainers—Brown, Alagna, Burke and Oakes. Tim also won eight of the $10,000 late closers that fill out the cards.

Brett Miller drew blanks in the late closers, but he did take four splits of the Bluegrass. Like Tetrick, Brett won for four different trainers—Lind, Alagna, Takter and Johansson.

David Miller, Andy Miller, Yannick, Scott Zeron and John Campbell each took a pair of Bluegrass divisions. Last year Yannick won seven the first week, David Miller four and Zeron three. David and John Campbell each won two late closers, while Scott and Yannick took one each. Ake and Sears each won a Bluegrass split.

On the training side Jimmy Takter and Tony Alagna each won three Bluegrass divisions, while Ron Burke and Jim Campbell each took a pair. All the rest were single winners. Last year there were 24 splits during the first four days of the meet and Jimmy Takter won eight of them. This time Donato’s sons Uncle Lasse and The Bank, each of whom a won Bluegrass division in 2014, as well as rookie filly All The Time, fell short for the HOF trainer. Burke won three during the first week in 2014, while Alagna had one, with Artspeak.

Muscle Hill, Cantab Hall and Yankee Glide each had two Bluegrass winners. The weather was frightful, so record breaking miles were not on the agenda, however, Mission Brief certainly impressed the fans with her four length crush job in the opener on Saturday night. And stablemate Wild Honey, who dished out another beating in the second split of that division, was also superb. Do we have a CMO—Maven situation here? Will the diminutive Cantab Hall filly outlast her mercurial barn mate?

Ake Svanstedt’s freshman colt Dupree also looked good. The Andover Hall half to Hot Shot Blue Chip was plucked from last year’s Lexington Select Sale for $200,000. He was third choice on the board, but seemed to wire the field effortlessly, taking down Jimmy Takter’s more celebrated colt, Bar Hopping.

Ron Burke’s Crazy Wow, who won the Colonial for Tetrick, finished three lengths up on Takter’s The Bank, who was a slight favorite in reign to Yannick Gingras. Burke is very high on the son of Crazed and will be supplementing him to next week’s Kentucky Futurity as well as the Breeders Crown.

Hamlet like Muscle Diamond, a son of Windylane Hanover, who sold for $90,000 at the Harrisburg sale, blew by 1/5 Uncle Lasse late in the mile and appears to be poised to make some end of the season noise. He’s staked to both the Kentucky Futurity and the Breeders Crown. John Campbell drives for Brett Bittle. Paternal brother Canepa Hanover, who broke in the Hambletonian and the Goodtimes also came up big in a late closer.

A full 55% of the pacers offered on opening night of the sale will be by SBSW, and there were 22 of them competing in the various Bluegrass divisions during week one action, but only one, Jimmy Takter’s undefeated filly Pure Country, came up a winner. She covered the off track in 56.1 and won by three lengths.

It was American Ideal and the Ill-fated Rocknroll Hanover, who will sell his last crop this year, who came up big with three wins each. Two colts in need of a measure of redemption won for the pair; American Ideal’s In The Arsenal, who had only one win to his credit since taking an elimination of the Pace, held off Rock N Roll World in 52.3 at even money for Tim Tetrick, while the Crawford Farms new Rocknroll purchase, Split The House, who hadn’t won since the NJ Classic at the end of July, rolled on through the stretch to win in 53.1 as the odds on choice, again for Tetrick.

Joe FitzGerald

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