Day At The Track

Dead heat in International Stallion Stake

08:50 AM 04 Oct 2019 NZDT
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DEAD HEAT sign.jpg Real Cool Sam, harness racing King Alphonso, harness racing Amigo Volo, harness racing
Real Cool Sam and driver David Miller close in on Big Oil
Nigel Soult Photo
King Alphonso and trainer/driver Ake Svandstedt
Nigel Soult Photo
Amigo Volo and driver Dexter Dunn
Nigel Soult Photo
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LEXINGTON, KY--Real Cool Sam remains undefeated from nine starts but hit the finish line inseparably with 32-1 Big Oil in the third of three harness racing divisions of the $276,300 Trixton International Stallion Stakes on Thursday, Oct. 3 at The Red Mile.

Big Oil sat third to a :27.2 first quarter set by second-choice Gangster Hanover with Capricornus sitting the pocket. Real Cool Sam, sent the 1-2 favorite, raced fourth up the backstretch before driver David Miller slowly edged from the pylons through a :55.3.

Real Cool Sam ranged closer to Gangster Hanover circling the final turn but Capricornus had room to pull from the pocket passing three-quarters in 1:24. Capricornus took a narrow lead through the stretch while Big Oil circumvented Gangster Hanover towards the inside and sprinted towards the front as Real Cool Sam rallied three wide. Real Cool Sam ground past Capricornus in the final strides to hit the finish in tandem with Big Oil, stopping the clock in 1:52.1.

A gelding by Muscle Hill, Real Cool Sam lowered the world record for a two-year-old trotting gelding of 1:52.3 set by Amigo Volo last week at The Red Mile.

"When [the photo] was taking so long, I was hopeful for a dead-heat but I didn't think we got it," trainer Jim Campbell said after the race. "Today was his ninth start and I didn't want to come out of here with 10 starts and then--the plan is, if everything's okay, to go to the Breeders Crown. I didn't want him getting used hard; [it's] been over three weeks since he raced last at Chester. When they hadn't raced like that and you go abuse them too much too soon [then] they don't race the way you want them to. This way it worked out perfectly--Dave gave him a good drive; the way you'd want the colt driven"

Real Cool Sam, a homebred for Fashion Farms, has earned $443,063. He paid $2.20 to win.

Big Oil, a colt by Father Patrick, won his second race from eight starts, earning $91,605 for owner-breeder Jason and Douglas Allen and co-owner Ron Allen. The 1:52.1 mile lowers the Julie Miller trainee's lifetime mark.

"Last week we kind of used as a confidence booster for him," Julie Miller said after the race. "I thought Andy raced him real well and we thought today to give him a chance. I'm leaning towards [not sending him to the Breeders Crown]. We may put him away and have a great three-year-old."

Andy Miller piloted the $16.60 winner.

King Alphonso wired his competition with a 1:52 mile in the opening division of the Trixton.

Trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt swept King Alphonso past pylon-starter Beyond Kronos to take the lead into the Tattersalls turn. Even-money favorite Rome Pays Off, rough-gaited at the start, raced last of the seven through a :27.1 opening quarter before angling first over into the backside.

Rome Pays Off marched into a :55.2 half to race at King Alphonso's wheel circling the final turn but began to retreat past three-quarters in 1:24.1. King Alphonso strolled through the stretch with wide strides pursued by pocket-sitter Beyond Kronos in second. It's Academic rolled down the center of the course for third.

A colt by Muscle Hill bred by Order By Stable, King Alphonso won his second race from seven starts, earning $128,395 for owners Ake Svanstedt, Bender Sweden, Little E LLC and Douglas Sipple. He paid $6.80 to win.

Taken to the center of the course after trotting a bad step, Amigo Volo quickly regained his footing and surged past his competition to equal his then-1:52.3 world record when winning the second division of the Trixton.

Driver Dexter Dunn floated Amigo Volo from post 7 into fourth rounding the first turn while EL Ideal led the field through the first quarter in :26.4. EL Ideal decelerated up the backstretch as Amigo Volo nearly broke into a gallop but kept his stride as Dunn veered the Father Patrick gelding to the center of the track. Past a :55.3 half, Amigo Volo progressed uncovered towards the leader.

"It wasn't his gait--he was sort of running out a touch there," Dunn said after the race. "He was playing around with his head a little bit. It was more like he lost a little bit of concentration there and threw himself off stride. [So I] sort of moved him out of the way and he just hit his gait straight away."

EL Ideal clung to command as Amigo Volo matched strides passing three-quarters in 1:24. Amigo Volo then lunged to the lead straightening for the finish and strode clear of EL Ideal with Synergy taking third.

"He did it really nicely," Dunn also said. "Those plugs are still in."

Winning his fourth race from eight starts, Amigo Volo has won $214,696 for owners Pinske Stables and David J. Miller. Carter Pinske conditions the gelding bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr. He paid $3.40 to win.

Each division of the Trixton International Stallion Stakes was sponsored by Deo Volente Farms, where 2014 Hambletonian Winner Trixton stands stud.

"This is truly a special place. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here," said Mike Gulotta, CEO of Deo Volente Farms in the winner's circle after Race 3. "I love the crowd; I love the racing. Together with the sale, it's a perfect venue. It's a place to showcase some great, great horses."

Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile Friday, Oct. 4 with four divisions of the $290,200 Muscle Hill International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies--sponsored by Southwind Farms--and two divisions of the $239,000 Arlene Siegel Memorial International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies--sponsored by Jules Siegel and Fashion Farms. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

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