Vernon, NY – Royalty For Life and driver Brian Sears were able to rebound from their loss last week by posting an impressive 1:53.1 victory in capturing the $360,000 Zweig Memorial Trot for three-year-olds at Vernon Downs Sunday.
It was just about a cakewalk for the New York sired son of RC Royalty at his home-based track.
Corky and driver Dave Miller left out of the gate as did Sears and Royalty For Life and Sear was able to take command by the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Spider Blue Chip (Ron Pierce) made a break out of the gate and was never in the hunt.
Just about walking to the half mile marker in :58 and the three-quarters in 1:26, Royalty For Life had things his own way on the lead but Pine Credit has come first-over and collared the race leader with Modest Prince (Jeff Gregory) getting great second-over cover by the final turn.
But in the stretch it was all Royalty For Life, who seemingly held the field at bay and went on to win by one and one-half lengths with Corky second and Pine Credit third.
It was Royalty For Life’s fifth win in nine starts this year. He is trained by George Ducharme for owner/breeder Al Ross with RWJ Campbell, Jr. and Paul Fontaine, all of New England. Royalty For Life paid $4.70 to win.
“Tonight behind the gate he was a little extra quiet,” said driver Brian Sears of Royalty For Life. “He usually wants to get on the gate and take off but he was pretty docile tonight. I don’t think he was 100% tonight. He was extra docile, extra quiet tonight. But when I asked him to pick it up a little on the backside he did.”
Punxsutawney and driver Corey Callahan could not take advantage of soft early fractions and gave perfect cover to Lindy’s Tru Grit and driver Tim Tetrick, who came on late in the stretch to win the $75,000 Zweig Memorial Trot consolation for three-year-old colts.
Wannacmyguns and trainer/driver John Stark, Jr. was the first to show from the starting gate and then gave way to Lindy’s Tru Grit by the opening quarter mile in :28.1. But by the half mile in :58.3 it was race favorite Punxsutawney moving first over and taking command in the backstretch.
Punxsutawney led the field to the three-quarters in 1:27.2 as Crazed N Lindy and driver Ron Pierce came first over to challenge. As the field started down the stretch it looked as if Punxsutawney was well in command but no one told that to Tetrick and Lindy’s Tru Grit came after them, kept gaining ground and past them by before the wire to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. All Laid Out (Andrew McCarthy) closed well to be third.
Sired by Cantab Hall, it was the third win this year and a lifetime mark for Lindy’s Tru Grit, who is trained by Frank Antonacci and is bred and owned by the Lindy Racing Stable of Enfield, CT with Robert Rudoph of Vineland, NJ. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Lindy’s Tru Grit paid $13.00 to win.
By Steve Wolf