Both Intimidate and D’Orsay set track records at Vernon Downs Friday night in winning their respective Grand Circuit Stakes.
Intimidate and driver Ron Piece wove between horses and come on with a burst of speed at the end of the mile to capture the $214,000 Credit Winner Open Trot. And in doing so in 1:51 he became the fastest trotter in the history of Vernon Downs.
Sevruga and driver Andy Miller flew out of the gate and took the early lead in forcing Wishing Stone (Yannick Gingras) to take the two-hole trip past the opening quarter mile in :26. As they straighten out and headed down the backstretch, Tim Tetrick made his move with Market Share and they were able to take command at the half mile marker in :54.4.
Intimidate and Pierce rejected the outside flow and ducked to the rail and was able to gain up on the leaders as the field passed the three-quarters in 1:22.2. Then in the stretch Piece was able to weave his way out to find clearance and got after Intimidate just as Sevruga and Andy Miller collared Market Share and looked to be able win the race but Piece and Intimidate mowed them down by the wire to win by a half length. Mister Herbie (Jody Jamieson) closed well to be third with Market Share fading to fourth place.
“I knew if we could find some room we have a chance,” said Ron Pierce. “We kind of thread the needle between a couple of horses. The only tough decision I had to make was at the quarter pole. Do I stay in the outside flow that could take me nowhere or go up the inside and I decided to duck inside and I was lucky to get through later.”
It was the third straight win and fifth of only six starts this year for Intimidate, a four-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall. He is trained by Luc Blais and is owned by Judith Farrow and Les Ecurles Luc Blais, Inc. both of Quebec. His time of 1:51 surpassed the former all age mark of 1:51.1 set by San Pail in 2011. Sent off at odds of 5/2, Intimidate paid $7.00 to win.
“I talked with Sylvian Filion last night,” Pierce said, “and he told me the horse should be very good. He told how he was doing, that he was ready and what to expect. I figured if they mix it up a little on the front end then we would be able to pick up the pieces.
D’Orsay was given a perfect drive by Corey Callahan in posting her track record 1:52 in the $202,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot.
Callahan and D’Orsay started off the race by exploding from post nine and grabbing the lead by the first turn with Cedar Love (Ron Pierce) also leaving and taking the two-hole spot. They raced that way to the opening quarter panel in :26.4.
Then Beatgoeson Hanover, fresh off her world record mile last week at Pocono Downs in 1:51.4, pulled out for driver Dave Miller and they shot to the lead in the backstretch with D’Orsay content sitting the pocket as the field rolled down the backstretch past the half mile in :56.
Meanwhile, Maven and driver Yannick Gingras were sitting in fifth place trying to get momentum to come first-over, which they finally did with a lack-luster effort by the three-quarters in 1:24.2.
As they started down the stretch, Maven began to fade as Callahan made his move with D’Orsay and they not only collared pacesetter Beatgoeson Hanover, but passed them by and drew off on the field to win by three open lengths in 1:52. Beatgoeson Hanover was second with Cedar Dove third. Maven was able to finish fifth.
The time of race was a track record for four-year-old trotting mares. It beat the former mark by a full second of 1:53 set in 2010 by Southwind Wasabie.
“Jonas and I are lucky,” Callahan said, “that the owner decided to bring her back this year instead of breeding her. After she finished fourth last year in the Breeders Crown he said why don’t we bring her back this year. I’m really glad he did and I am sure he is too after tonight.”
It was the fourth win in ten starts this year for D’Orsay. The daughter of Yankee Glide is trained by Jonas Czernyson for the Consus Racing Stable of Delray Beach, FL. Sent off as the 6/5 favorite, D’Orsay paid $4.50 to win.
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com