CAMPBELLVILLE, August 24…The sports top rookie pacers were showcased on Saturday evening at Mohawk in a trio of $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations.
Arthur Blue Chip, Western Vintage and Lets Drink On It captured their respective eliminations and stamped themselves as top contenders for this year’s $683,000 final on Saturday, August 31 at Mohawk.
Favoured Arthur Blue Chip, with driving, fended off all challengers to handily win the first of three eliminations.
Taking over from Luck Be Withyou after a 27.1 opening quarter, Arthur Blue Chip took the field to the half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1.24.2.
For a moment in early stretch, it looked like the pacesetter would need to repulse Tellitlikeitis and , who were rallying on the inside, but the son of -Advantest pulled away late for the one and one-half length tally in a career best 1:51.2. Luck Be Withyou outnodded Tellitlikeitis for second, with Some Major Beach getting up for fourth.
“He’s getting to be a really nice colt now,” said trainer . “He’s just getting better every day. Tonight, he was quite quiet in the paddock. I thought something was wrong with him. But he came his last quarter in 27 flat, so looks like he’s okay for now.
“Last week was the first time he raced off the front. I told Randy I’d leave it up to him as to how he wanted to race him tonight.”
A $135,000 yearling purchase and a half-brother to , Arthur Blue Chip came into his elim fresh from a comfortable front-end score last week in a division of the Nassagaweya in 1:52.
He’s now won five of seven starts for the Shadow One Stable of Guelph, Ontario, while pocketing $194,495.
Arthur Blue Chip paid $4.20, $2.90 and $2.30, combining with Luck Be Withyou ($4.90, $3.30) for a $15.60 (4-5) exactor. A 4-5-2 (Tellitlikeitis, $2.70) triactor was worth $69.40 while a $1 Superfecta [4-5-2-7 (Some Major Beach)] returned $148.75.
Odds-on Western Vintage coasted to a two length score in the second Metro Pace elim for driver .
Western Vintage, a -Major Harmony colt, took over from Ideal Magic after the first quarter in 27.4 and blasted to the top, getting to the half in 55.2.
Around the far turn and into the stretch, the favourite was pressed by Somewhere in LA after reaching three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Gingras let out another notch and Western Vintage drew off impressively in 1:51.3.
Winds of Change blew by the rest of the field to collar second place, with Play It Again Sam third and Ideal Magic fourth.
It was also the fourth win in five starts for the trainee, his only blemish coming last week in a Nassagaweya division, when he made a break before the start as the 7-5 choice and was distanced.
“He was a little anxious last week on (driver) Marcus (Johansson), that’s why he ran,” explained Gingras. “He was a little anxious on me a little bit tonight, too. That’s why I let him do his thing.
“He was full of pace. He was just waiting for me to call on him. Every time I’ve called on him so far, he’s had something left. I’ve yet to pull the ear plugs on him but I’m sure next week we’ll have to. I think he has as good a chance as anybody (next week) and he’s done nothing wrong so far.”
Gingras is now undefeated on the colt in three pari-mutuel starts, including a New Jersey Sires Stake on July 13 at the Meadowlands.
Just a $7,000 yearling purchase by owner Perry Soderberg of Manalapan, New Jersey, Western Vintage has now banked $117,250.
Western Vintage paid $3.70, $2.70 and $2.10, teaming with Winds of Change ($7.10, $3.80) for a $21.60 (3-2) exactor. A 3-2-1 (Play It Again Sam, $2.20) triactor returned $52.20, while a $1 Superfecta [3-2-1-8 (Ideal Magic)] was worth $127.50.
Favoured Let’s Drink On It gamely outfought Boomboom Ballykeel in deep stretch to post a neck decision in the third and final elimination.
Boomboom Ballykeel took the field through an opening quarter in 27.2, before Let’s Drink On It was hustled to the front by driver Jim Morrill, getting to the half in a leisurely 56.1.
After three-quarters was reached in 1:23.4, it looked like the chalk was home free, but Boomboom Ballykeel mounted a rail rally and appeared to put a head in front before Let’s Drink On It re-rallied for the close victory in a life best 1:51.1, the fastest of the three elims. Beat the Drum came on for third, six and one-quarter lengths behind the top pair, while Somesizesomestyle was fourth.
Trained by for U.S. interests, the son of , who was also trained by Seekman, was only a $12,000 Lexington yearling purchase. was the only horse to beat , and he did it in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace in July of 2008.
“Jimmy (Morrill) said he thought tonight maybe he might be better covered up,” said Seekman. “There was a little scare in the stretch when the other horse come up the inside. But he’s two fingers. He can go anywhere. He doesn’t have to be on the front.
“ never won at two and this horse already has four wins. We thought we stole him (for only $12,000 at the sale).”
Let’s Drink On It, winning his fourth in six starts, paid $4.70, $2.80 and $2.50, combining with Boomboom Ballykeel ($4.40, $3.60) for a $16.20 (4-7) exactor. A 4-7-3 (Beat the Drum, $3.10) triactor was worth $103.10 while a $1 Superfecta [4-7-3-1 (Somesizesomestyle)] returned $242.25.
The rich classic has been won recently by a host of champions, including last year by Captaintreacherous, in 2009, in 2007 and in 2004.
The top three finishers in each $40,000 elim, plus a fourth place finisher drawn by lot (Ideal Magic), advance to the final. The elim winners get to choose a post position before the rest of the field is drawn.
1. Boomboom Ballykeel
2. Lets Drink On It
4. Arthur Blue Chip
6. Winds Of Change
7. Luck Be Withyou
8. Beat The Drum
9. Play It Again Sam
10. Ideal Magic
Metro videos are races 5,7,9 attached