Day At The Track

Southwind Ozzie impressive in first Jug heat

09:13 AM 20 Sep 2019 NZST
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The first of the $128,000 opening-heat eliminations for the Little Brown Jug took to the track for Race 15, and after some wild festivities in the opening turn, the Bill MacKenzie-trained and Brian Sears-driven Southwind Ozzi ($) paced to a wrapped-up, first-over win in 1:50.3.

The majority of the field was scattered in the first turn when the Yannick Gingras-driven De Los Cielos Deo went on wild break. After the brief chaos, the Tim Tetrick-driven Shake The House was first down to the quarter pole (:27.1) and the half-mile indicator (:55).

Sears, who had been sitting in third with Southwind Ozzi, called on his charge in the homestretch, as the duo tipped out for a first-over advance on Shake The House. Southwind Ozzi ranged up alongside Shake That House past the 1:22.2 three-quarters marker and along the final turn.

Sears asked Southwind Ozzi to go at the head of the lane and the Somebeachsomewhere colt responded in full. He surged past Southwind Ozzi and was well within himself as he hit the wire in 1:50.3, which equalled the national season’s mark for the division over a half-mile track.

The Simon Allard-driven Air Force Hanover, who had raced second-over through the back half of the mile, finished second, while the David Miller-driven Stag Party finished third. The fourth-place finisher, Shake That House, also advanced to the Jug final.

When asked to comment on the mile, Sears started by giving some praise to Gingras, who had a lot on his plate with an uncooperative De Los Cielos Deo. "Yannick's horse went off stride and I thought he did a good job keeping him upright and not taking up too much track,” said Sears, who added, “we were all able to get around him pretty easily.”

Given everything that had occurred in the first turn, Sears was happy with the outcome at that point. “I was confident with the three-hole spot and coming first up,” said Sears. “The horse [didn’t] mind it and I was confident from that position on."

Southwind Ozzi fired for Sears when he asked. Sears explained that he expected nothing less. "He's been there for us all year and he showed up again today, so we're really happy with the effort he put out today."

MacKenzie echoed Sears’ sentiments in the winner’s circle and stated that he wasn’t worried about having to race two heats with Southwind Ozzi. “He comes out of every race extremely well...I'm not worried a little bit."

Southwind Ozzi is owned by Vincent Ali Jr. (Old Bridge, NJ) and Alma Iafelice (Cranbury, NJ).

From the Little Brown Jug

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