With only one week remaining until the $2.4 million Kentucky Sire Stakes 'Night of Champions' at The Red Mile, harness racing three-year-olds took to the track for one last chance to earn enough points to make their respective $300,000 finals next Sunday, September 12th.
Rockincam (Don Irvine Jr.) improved to 6 for 6 lifetime, as he scorched around the red clay oval in a lifetime best 1:50, in winning the lone $30,000 KYSS leg for three-year-old colt pacers. Irvine had the son of-Migraine on the go early as he found himself parked third on the outside through an opening quarter of 27.2, which was led by 4-5 favorite, Razzle Dazzle (John Campbell).
Rockincam was up to take command as the field of eleven raced up the backstretch, and he hit the half on the lead in a blistering 54.4. Blueridge Fortune (Ricky Macomber Jr.) rushed up and cleared for the lead as the field raced into the far turn and through three-quarters in 1:22.2. Rockincam was right back out to rally in the center of the track as the field turned for home, with Campbell tipping Razzle Dazzle three wide, as the top trio had put some separation on the rest of the field.
Rockincam responded with a 27.2 final quarter to post a 2 ¼ length win over Razzle Dazzle. Defending champion, High Def Z Tam (Pat Lachance), rallied to finish 5 ½ lengths back in third, while Blueridge Fortune tired to finish fourth, 7 ¾ lengths behind the winner.
The winner is a homebred colt for owner Stephen Farrell of Ocala, Florida, and is trained by Warren Harp. Ironically, John Campbell was listed to drive Rockincam after winning leg one with the colt, but had already committed to trainer Jerry Silverman and Razzle Dazzle, the runner-up. Don Irvine Jr. said he wasn’t sure if he would be back up in next week’s $300,000 final, but hoped to get the drive.
“They told me to do whatever I thought I had to do with him in here tonight,” Irvine commented, “and the mile is just unbelievably impressive when you consider he was making only his sixth career start.”
“He was such a pleasure to drive, and allowed me to give him a breather in the third-quarter when I let Ricky (Macomber) go” said the winning driver. “I think he can go at least a second faster, maybe more.”
Best Boss (Pat Lachance) was a dominant winner in the $30,000 KYSS event for three-year-old filly pacers, as she took the lead just past the half and sprinted 3 ¼ lengths clear down the lane to post a career best mile in 1:51. After the dominant win tonight, and the eight length victory in the opening leg, the daughter of-Head of the House figures to be a heavy favorite in next Sunday’s $300,000 final.
Nannina (Brad Hanners) also made it back-to-back KYSS victories, as she took the $30,000 event for three-year-old trotting fillies. Hanners left with the daughter of-Nannina Ambrosio from post nine, and tucked fourth through the opening quarter. Nannina would continue racing in fourth until the final turn, when she brushed to the lead to overtake the defending champion, Felicity Hall (Don Irvine Jr.). Those two would slug it out down the lane, with Nannina holding her off for 1 ¼ length win in a career best 1:56.1.
Three-year-old trotting colts were the only group to split into two $15,000 KYSS divisions on Sunday night, with Onmyagame (Dave Magee) easily taking the first with a gate-to-wire 6 ¼ length romp in 1:56. Onmyagame finished fourth in the opening leg ten days prior, and is a son of The Wizard-Outback Kristy.
Rome (John Campbell) turned the tables on Victor’s Future (Don Irvine Jr.), to take the opposite $15,000 KYSS division for three-year-old colt trotters. The son of-Brescia rallied from fifth at the three-quarters pole to take the lead in the stretch and post a half length win over Victor’s Future in 1:56.3. The win was his first in seven career starts for trainer-lessee Buck Sprinkle.
Live racing action continues tomorrow on Labor Day at The Red Mile with a first post of 6:30 p.m. for the ten-race program. The 2010 ‘Night of Champions’ is next Sunday (Sept 12), where purses will be in excess of $2.4 million dollars with eight Kentucky Sires Stakes Finals worth $300,000 each.