He just made it look too easy as Father Patrick scored a four and one-half length triumph in winning a $37,262 division of the harness racing Grand Circuit Historic Series for three-year-old trotting colts at Pocono Downs Wednesday.
The harness racing early favorite to win the Hambletonian covered the one mile race in 1:53.3 in his 2014 debut..
Winner of the 2013 Dan Patch award as the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year, Father Patrick was driven by regular pilot Yannick Gingras and got away third at the start of the ten-race co-feature. Master Bedroom (Ron Pierce) was first on the lead but gave way to Amped Up Hanover (Corey Callahan) by the opening quarter mile in :28.2.
The it was Gingras and Father Patrick who came first-over and took the lead for good, cutting the fractions to the half mile in :57.4 and then the three-quarters in 1:26 and then Gingras let the bay colt have his head and he took off to the wire. Amped Up Hanover was second with Marathon Man (Mike Simons) third.
"I was very happy with the race," Takter said. "Yannick never really had to put him in gear. I wouldn't call it a training mile when they go in 1:53.We go to the Meadows next for the PASS. He didn't need to improve that much over last year. Nature took its own course. This horse is just too perfect. You do not get many like him."
A winner in ten of eleven starts last year, Father Patrick is sired by Cantab Hall and trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Taker He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ. The colt is named after the Takter’s local priest. Father Patrick went off as the overwhelming 1/9 betting favorite and paid just $2.10 to win on a $2 wager.
In the $36,512 first division of the Historic Series, It Really Matters and driver Jim Morrill, Jr. seemed to have the race in total control and as they approached the finish line, It Really Matter went off-stride and finished third, setting up 14-1 long shot Auspicious Hanover for the big victory.
Despite a small field of only five starters the action was furious early on as Mac Kemp (Brett Miller) was the first to get to the lead but they were then overtaken by Auspicious Hanover and driver Charlie Norris by the opening quarter mile in :28. Then It Really Matters came first-over for Morrill and they took the lead by the half mile marker in :56.2.
It looked like It Really Matters was in control of the race coming to the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with Dony Andreas (Corey Callahan) coming first-over to challenge but as they came down the stretch to the wire, It Really Matters made the costly break and Norris was able to get by them on the inside to score a two length triumph in 1:54.1. Dony Andreas was second with It Really Matters third.
"I did not know if the two favorites would leave," Charlies Norris said. "So I took a shot. He hasn't been in these kinds of fractions before and I let Jimmy Morrill go loose. I didn't know if I would have caught him if Morrill's horse didn't break. But that's racing. He was closing good and this colt is improving. We go to the PASS next at the Meadows."
It was a lifetime mark for Auspicious Hanover. The gelded son of Andover Hall is trained by Charlie Norris and is owned by the Arcadia Farms of Canfield, Ohio, Dale Sweet of Huron, Ohio and Douglas Allen of Southampton, NJ. It was his first win in two starts this year and he paid $31.60 to win.
By Steve Wolf and Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com