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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Week One At The Red Mile

Tim Tetrick was the top driver at the first week of the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile; he won seven splits of the Bluegrass and five late closers. Last year, including both weekends at Lexington, Tetrick won six stakes and eleven late closers. His 1:52.3 win on Sunday over John Campbell and Per Henriksen’s tough 8/1 shot Blenheim, a Yankee Glide colt coming off a win in the Bucket, was one of the best races of the opening stretch. We should see both of them in Sunday’s Kentucky Futurity.

Tetrick also had a good win with Huntsville on the rainy Saturday night card. The freshman Somebeachsomewhere colt, an already more fully realized version of his brothers Stevensville and Cowboy Terrier, was a handy 1:53 winner at 4/5 for owner-trainer Ray Schnittker.

SBSW was the star pacing stallion with eight Bluegrass wins—six of them on Saturday night. Jimmy Takter’s colt Blood Line bottomed the field in 1:52.1 over the off track for David Miller as the 6/5 favorite. In similar fashion to Huntsville, he’s full to Blood Brother, who hasn’t fulfilled his early promise.

Andy Miller had four Bluegrass wins, while Corey Callahan and David Miller had three each. The latter also had a pair of late closer wins. Last year David Miller’s performance at Lexington propelled him to his driver of the year award. He had a strong second week with wins in the Allerage Mare stakes with Color’s A Virgin and D’One as well as both splits of the Tattersalls Filly with Rock Me Gently and Divine Caroline. He won seven stakes and four late closers overall.

Jimmy Takter is making no secret of the fact that he is sending Miller out to break the world record with Always B Miki in the Allerage Open. Whether that’s simply the 1:46.4 race record or Cambest’s twenty-three-year old 1:46.1 mark, we don’t know. Cracking either barrier would give Miller, who is having an excellent year, momentum in his quest for another driver of the year title. 

Brett Miller was the top driver in Lexington last year, with eight stakes wins and one late closer. After week one he has a single Bluegrass win, with the Art Major filly Roaring To Go, who upset 1/9 Idyllic Beach in a $73,000 division, although he has captured four late closers.

Two years ago money leader Yannick Gingras won sixteen stakes and four late closers at The Red Mile. That dropped to a more modest five and one, respectively, last year. In week one he won Bluegrass divisions with Jimmy Takter’s freshman trotting filly, Princess Aurora, and Ron Burke’s money machine Check Six. Yannick will be highly motivated in week two.

Andy Miller won four stakes, three of them in conjunction with his wife Julie. He treated those who bet on him well as the freshman Yankee Glide filly Overland Hanover paid $49.20 on Friday and Ross Croghan’s Rock N Roll Heaven colt Rock The Boat paid $38.20 on Saturday night. Andy capped off his weekend with an eye opening win with the Donato Hanover colt Sutton on Sunday. The winner of the Zweig crushed his competition by four lengths in 1:52 at odds of 1/5. Sutton may add some excitement to Sunday’s Futurity.

Newly minted Hall-of-Famer Brian Sears was saddled with dead stock and managed only one late closer win.

Jimmy Takter, who led the trainers with four stakes wins, won 13 over the two weeks two years ago and seven last year. Two of his Bluegrass winners, Bar Hopping and Western Fame, should be players in the Futurity and Tattersalls, and you can bet he’ll have plenty entered in the ISS.

Julie Miller had three stakes winners, which have already been mentioned, while Ake, Trond, Charlie Norris and Ron Burke had two each. The latter only had four last year, although he also had eight second place stakes finishes. He won nine in 2014.

Muscle Hill led the trotters in stakes wins, with three on Thursday from freshmen Long Tom, Fly On and New Jersey Viking, and one on Sunday from Bar Hopping. Muscle Massive had three, a two-year-old colt and two fillies. Andover Hall, Cantab Hall and Donato Hanover had two each.

On Thursday Dover Dan, a two-year-old Andover Hall colt out of the great CR Kay Suzie won a Bluegrass split in 1:55 for Corey Callahan and John Butenschoen. Suzie, who hasn’t matched her success on the track as a broodmare, is currently 24-years-old.

The next day That’s All Moni, a freshman three-quarter sister to Snow White, won a stake in 1:54.4 at 4/5 for Tim Tetrick and Jimmy Takter.

Celebrity Eventsy and Broadway Donna both disappointed on Sunday, and Ginny Weasley (Andover Hall) and Fad Finance (Credit Winner) picked up the pieces.

On the pacing side, the SBSW filly Darlinonthebeach, who won the Shady Daisy and Valley Forge, put in a strong 1:50.2 mile on the front end for David Miller and Nancy Johansson. The Rocknroll Hanover filly Blue Moon Stride also won in wire to wire fashion for Andrew McCarthy and Mark Harder. Owner Emilio Rosati was ecstatic in the winner’s circle.

And Mark MacDonald sent the lightly raced Western Ideal colt Western Fame, who recently won a Jug elimination, down the road and never looked back. He won a neck in 1:50.3 for Jimmy Takter.

I can’t wait for round two.

Joe FitzGerald

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