Harness racing freshman trotting colts were in the spotlight on Friday night (Sept. 28) at The Red Mile as four $101,000 divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes were contested.
In the opening division, Thomas Brice and Charles Receski's Major Athens rallied in the final strides to nip the previously unbeaten Mystical Dew in a time of 1:56.3 over a 'good' track. Pine Credit was third.
Brian Sears was in the bike behind Major Athens ($4.80), who is trained by Rich Gillock. The victory was the seventh in 10 lifetime starts for the homebred son of-Miss Athens, who took his lifetime bankroll to $299,856.
"I think I bit off all my fingernails," said co-owner Thomas Brice of watching the late rush of Major Athens. "He's been in the lead most of his races and tonight it was a race from behind. It shows he can come from behind.
"We're just happy to have Brian being our driver and Rich Gillock is a great trainer for us. So we've been real lucky this summer. He'll hopefully race (at The Red Mile) next week in the International (Stallion Stakes).
In the second Bluegrass division, Noel Daley's All Laid out and driver James Rattray came flying down the stretch to nip My Man Can in a time of 1:57.1. Heavilly favored Fashion Blizzard checked in third.
The win was the second in four lifetime starts for the son of-Adelaide Hall, who is also trained by Noel Daley. All Laid Out has now earned $57,875. He paid $24.60 to win.
The third Bluegrass division saw Diamond Creek Farm's Creatine and Hall of Fame reinsman Mike Lachance hit the wire first in 1:57.1 over Broadway Prince and Your So Vain.
Trained by Bob Stewart, the son of-Berry Nice Muscles won for the third time in six trips behind the gate, lifting his bankroll to $56,400 thanks to the lifetime best score.
Creatine was the early leader in this mile, hitting the quarter in :30.1, then yielded to Caveat Emptor who cut middle fractions of :59.1 and 1:28.4. But Creatine found racing room down the middle of the track and got to the lead late to post the winning score.
"I wanted to sit close to the front, but not in front," said Lachance. "So it worked out good that I could get out in the last turn. I had a lot of luck involved, but we still got it done.
"Right from the start when I baby raced him at the Meadowlands, I told Bobby (Stewart) that I liked that colt. He's big, but he's immature. But he's got the speed and he's got a good head on him. I really think that next year as a 3-year-old he could mature into a very nice colt."
In the final division it was Jerry Graham's Punxsutawney ($4.80) who took advantage of a second over trip on the final turn to reach the wire first in 1:57.2. Deadliest Catch picked up the place check, with Crazy About Pat third.
Tim Tetrick was in the bike for trainer John Butenschoen as the-Sunseeker Kosmos colt won for the second time in eight trips behind the gate. He has now earned $138,465.
"John's trained him all winter," said owner Jerry Graham. "I looked at him in the sale book and I asked John to go look at him. John liked him so we bid on him."
from the USTA Communications Department