Philip Rietveld’s Litigator was given a perfect trip from driver Andy Miller and the youngster took advantage of it, zipping up the passing lane to capture Wednesday night’s (October 19) $50,000 Cardinal stake for Illinois bred two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.
Miller left hard enough from the two-hole with the 3-2 betting favorite to drop behind the No. 1 Adam Gram (Ron Marsh) who did all of the work but had to settle for the second place honors at the end of the 2:02 flat mile, beaten three-quarters of a length the Roger Welch trained Litigator ($5.00).
“I really felt confident with Andy Miller in the bike tonight,” trainer Roger Welch said. “I just told him before the race that I thought he had the winner and that this horse was very sharp right now. I trained him here last week in 2:03 and knew that he could handle the turns in fine shape. He got a good trip in here with a great post.
“I don’t think this colt really needs the trotting hobbles any more and you won’t see them on him as a three-year-old,” added Welch. “At this point in the season, however, I really didn’t want to change anything.”
Last week’s Cardinal elimination winner He’s The Cashew’s (Tony Morgan) pushed Adam Gram in the first turn before settling into third on the backside. After a :29.1 first quarter Adam Gram found He’s The Cashew’s on his outside again at the 1:01.1 half-mile marker, bringing up Lincoln Land champion Valley Liberator (Brent Holland).
However,made a break before the 1:31.3 three-quarters, while Adam Gram still had a one and one-half length lead on the parked-out He’s The Cashews.
Miller patiently waited for the open stretch and once it arrived, he sent Litigator after the leader, passing him in mid-stretch to pickup the freshman’s third victory in 14 starts for his Crete, IL owner and breeder. He’s The Cashews held on for third, beaten almost six lengths.
Litigator’s triumph lifted the son of’s first season earnings to $56,701.
Mike Paradise, director of publicity