Day At The Track

Will it be "Lucky 7" again for Lyonssomewhere?

11:54 AM 17 Sep 2014 NZST
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Lyonnssomewhere, harness racing
Lyonssomewhere
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Post No. 7 proved lucky for Lyonssomewhere in the Cane Pace and his connections will hope for the same good fortune Thursday when the colt starts from the same spot in his first-round elimination heat in the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair.

The outside post positions at Delaware's half-mile oval are historically regarded as difficult starting spots, but driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter are hopeful that Lyonssomewhere can overcome the draw. The colt, who supplemented into the race thanks to his victory in the Cane Pace, is the 5-2 favorite in his heat.

A total of 16 3-year-old male pacers entered the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, presented by Fazoli's, but the number was reduced to 15 on Tuesday when Cammikey scratched because of illness.

The field was divided into two first-heat elimination divisions and the top four finishers from each group will advance to the second round. If a first-heat winner also is victorious in the second heat, he is declared the Little Brown Jug champion. If not, there will be a race off between the three winners of the heats.

"He ended up, on paper anyway, in a little softer division than the others," said Takter, who won the Little Brown Jug in 2006 with Mr Feelgood. "What are you going to do?

"The horse is in good form. We'll give it a try."

Gingras was able to put Lyonssomewhere in front early in the Cane Pace at five-eighths-mile Tioga Downs and held off favorite He's Watching by a half-length for the win.

"In the Cane, I wasn't planning on leaving," Gingras said. "It's not like I had him wound up. He looped them, but I went to the gate thinking I was going to race him from off the pace. The gate was picking up speed and no one was leaving, he's a very handy horse, and I just had to put the whip on his tail and he went.

"In the Jug, from post seven, I'll wind him up a little bit. He can leave a little faster than he did in the Cane. There's no doubt the plan is to go forward and I'll make my mind up in the first turn."

Lyonssomewhere has won five of nine races this year and earned $370,892 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. The horse wasn't eligible to the Little Brown Jug, but the conditions allow the winner of the Cane Pace to supplement to the Jug for $45,000. The Cane Pace is the first leg in the Pacing Triple Crown, the Jug is the second.

Since supplements were first allowed in 1999, three horses have used that route to enter the Jug field: Four Starzzz Shark in 2001, Art Official in 2008, and Betterthancheddar in 2011. All three finished third in the Jug.

"I think (Lyonssomewhere) has got a great chance," said Gingras, who is North America's leading purse-earning driver and is seeking his first Jug. "It would be awesome to win it. This is a race everyone wants to win. With the fans there, it's a different atmosphere. The Jug is different than any other race. It's been a great year for me and it would add to what an unbelievable year it's been."

The last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003. The third and final leg, the Messenger Stakes, will be raced on Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway.

Lyonssomewhere is not Takter's only chance to win the Jug. He sends out Capital Account and Somewhere In L A in the second division of opening-round heats. Capital Account starts from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1 on the morning line. Somewhere In L A starts from post six with driver Brett Miller at odds of 7-2.

The favorite in the elimination is Casie Coleman's McWicked, who drew post No. 1 and is the 7-5 choice.

Somewhere In L A has won six of 15 races this year and earned $301,502 for owners Deo Volente Farms, J&T Silva Stables, and T L P Stable. The gelding finished second to McWicked in the Delvin Miller Adios.

"He's a very good horse," Takter said about Somewhere In L A, adding with a laugh, "He's been consistently racing against McWicked, and McWicked has got to be the luckiest horse I ever saw at getting a good post position. We have six or seven and McWicked has all these good posts.

"But he's been racing gamely. I'm really proud of him. This race is going to be interesting. Hopefully they're going to mix it up a little bit and there will be some action."

Capital Account has won four of 16 races this season and earned $114,744. He is owned by Brittany Farms.

"If he would have been in the other division, he would have had a better shot to make the final," Takter said. "He's a quick little horse. He's a good horse. But in that division, it's tough. He's a longshot."

Following are the first-round elimination heats for the Little Brown Jug in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds.

Elim One: 1. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman, 5-1; 2. Winds Of Change, Brett Miller, Linda Toscano, 8-1; 3. Three Of Clubs, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 10-1; 4. On Golden Ponder, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 7-2; 5. At Press Time, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 6. Beat The Drum, Ron Pierce, Staffan Lind, 15-1; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 8. Rediscovery, Chris Page, Ben Davis, 20-1.

Elim Two: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-5; 2. Limelight Beach, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 3. Avalanche Hanover, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 12-1; 4. Capital Account, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter, 10-1; 5. Somewhere In L A, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-2; 6. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 7. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 8. Cammikey, scratched.

The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli's will air live from 5-6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The last Jug elimination heat will be shown live at approximately 5:11 p.m. The remaining elimination will be covered on a tape delay basis. The second heat of the Jug will be shown live at approximately 6:15 p.m. If a race-off is necessary, CBS Sports Network will cut into its regularly scheduled program at 7 p.m. to show the race-off live. Post time of the race-off would be approximately 7:02 p.m.

by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

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