Day At The Track

Nitro & Santanna clash again in Rooney

03:00 AM 01 Jul 2008 NZST
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Santanna Blue Chip
Santanna Blue Chip - 2007 Breeders Crown 2YOCP Final
Photo by Michael Lisa - Lisa Photo, Inc.

Santanna Blue Chip already has more than $1 million on his career bankroll. Badlands Nitro, with a win over the aforementioned colt in Saturday's $538,270 Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway, could join him. Each won his June 28 elimination race to advance to the eight-horse final.

Badlands Nitro and Santanna Blue Chip finished second and third, respectively, behind unbeaten Somebeachsomewhere in the $1.5 million North America Cup on June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack.

A week earlier, Badlands Nitro won his North America Cup elim against a field that included Santanna Blue Chip, who was third.

Over the weekend, Badlands Nitro, driven by Jason Bartlett, blazed to a 1:51.4 victory in his Art Rooney Pace elimination race.

He won by 1-3/4 lengths over Dontloseyourdayjob and Moon Beam. The time was identical to the stakes-final record set by Fully Loaded in 2001 and was the fastest by a 3-year-old on a half-mile racetrack this year.

"It was a pretty good mile; 1:51.4 at Yonkers is nothing to sneeze about for a 3-year-old colt," trainer George Teague Jr. said. "I was pleased with it. He got around the track good."

Santanna Blue Chip, driven by co-owner Jody Jamieson, won his elim by three-quarters of a length over Meant To Be Me in 1:54.2. It was the first win of the campaign for last season’s Breeders Crown and Governor's Cup champion.

"Everybody wants to own a horse like that at least one time in their life," said Jamieson, who drives the colt for his father, co-owner/trainer Carl.

"He's the first horse in our barn to go over a million. He's done nothing wrong since day one. It ended up he could go with those colts. I guess we knew right away, but you just don't know how much money you're going to make with them."

A son of Art Major-Mmissus Hanover, Santanna Blue Chip has won six of 15 career races and earned $1.1 million. His race at Yonkers was only his second in the U.S.; the other was his Breeders Crown triumph at the Meadowlands in November.

"He didn’t have a great week," Jamieson said. "He shipped on Thursday and he just wasn’t himself. But he's the type of horse that overcomes adversity all the time.

"When I got to the front and no one was coming at me real hard, I let him sit in there. He sprinted home. As soon as he saw John (Campbell, driving Meant To Be Me) on the inside by his bridle, he took off again."

All eight horses in the Rooney are eligible to the $1 million Meadowlands Pace. The eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace are July 12; the final is July 19.

"We didn't have plans on coming to the Rooney; it was just too close to the Meadowlands Pace, which we were kind of aiming for," Jamieson said.

"I was caught in (traffic) two weeks ago in the North America Cup, so we thought, what the heck let's give him a try and hopefully dodge Somebeachsomewhere. I think that's what everyone is trying to do -- dodge that horse. If we draw good (Tuesday) we’re going to have a good shot."

Teague, too, has an eye on the Meadowlands Pace for Badlands Nitro, who is a son of Badlands Hanover-Pleasant Thoughts, and last season equaled Artsplace's 1:51.1 world record for 2-year-olds on a five-eighths-mile track.

Earlier this year, Badlands Nitro won the Max C. Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

"Of course, you're concerned racing four weeks in a row, but he hasn't been over-raced and the racing he's done hasn't seemed to hurt him," said Teague, who won last year’s Rooney with Southwind Lynx. "But I think (the Rooney) is a very good race.

"And $500,000 is another good reason to go," he added with a laugh.

Below is the field in alphabetical order, with listed drivers and trainers from the elimination races, for Saturday's $538,270 Art Rooney Pace.

Badlands Nitro and Santanna Blue Chip were elimination race winners. The draw is Tuesday.

Horse 2008 Record Driver Trainer Owner(s) or Lessees
Badlands Nitro 6-5-1-0
J. Bartlett G. Teague Jr. J. Celii, Teague Inc.
Dontloseyourdayjob 7-1-4-1
Y. Gingras J. Smith F. Monteleone Stable
Dragon King 6-2-0-2
D. Miller R. Williams R. Williams, R. Williams Jr.
Idle Hour 8-3-0-1
J. Bartlett G. Teague Jr. Top Notch Racing, Elite Racing, Teague Inc.
Legacy N Diamonds 4-0-0-0
J. Jamieson C. Jamieson C. Jamieson, K. Henwood
Meant To Be Me 7-0-2-2
J. Campbell L. Toscano L. Marciante, Amante Standardbreds Inc.
Moon Beam 2-0-1-1
E. Abbatiello E. Abbatiello H. Schneidler
Santanna Blue Chip 4-1-1-2
J. Jamieson C. Jamieson C. Jamieson, 1140545 Ontario, J. Gillis, G. Arthur Stb.

Harness Racing Communications, a division of the USTA

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