Day At The Track

Im Your Captain fastest in Keystone Classic

11:26 AM 25 Sep 2018 NZST
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Im Your Captain, harness racing Mississippi Storm, harness racing
Im Your Captain and driver Andy Miller
Chris Gooden photo
Mississippi Storm and driver Jim Pantaleano
Chris Gooden photo

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 24, 2018 -- Im Your Captain converted a lengthy quarter-pole move to victory in 1:53.4, fastest in Monday's $78,698 Keystone Classic at The Meadows.

The stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters was contested over three divisions, with Mississippi Storm and Make It A Double taking the other divisions. Andy Miller and trainer Julie Miller made it a double, indeed, with Im Your Captain and Make It A Double.

Im Your Captain entered the Keystone Classic off a victory in the Old Oaken Bucket at Delaware, and Miller drove him as if he were the best, launching that quarter-pole move from fourth.

"I thought he was as good as anything in there," Miller said, "and I just didn't want to rush him out of the gate and make a mistake. So I just moved him up the front side, and he did the rest. He finished with his earplugs in and kind of coasted. I just kept him to his task."

The son of Muscle Hill-Frisky Strike drew off late to down Jackie's Jim by 3-3/4 lengths, with Meadowbranch Ricky third. Andy Miller Stable and Black Horse Racing campaign Im Your Captain, who boosted his career bankroll to $128,373.

Mississippi Storm also entered the Keystone Classic off a strong performance -- a victory in a Liberty Bell split -- and he had little trouble muscling to the early lead and scoring in 1:54.2, a life mark. The pocket-sitting Mr Contestant was second, 2 lengths back, while Rich And Miserable rallied for show.

"I'd never driven him before, so I didn't know what to expect," said winning driver Jim Pantaleano. "He was very handy. I kicked out the plugs at the head of the stretch, and he still had plenty left. I was happily surprised."

Ton Fanning conditions the Cantab Hall-Mississippi Beauty gelding, who now has banked $153,908 for Joseph Smith.

Make It A Double stretched out 3-5 favorite Scirocco Rob before yielding to the pocket. That might have been the decisive move, as the Donato Hanover-Dodger Blues gelding overtook Scirocco Rob near the wire and defeated him by a length in 1:54.3. Stonebridge Gamble completed the ticket.

"I was stuck between horses, and I wanted a two-hole trip, so I kept going," Miller said. "I had to use my horse and make the favorite work a little to get where I wanted to be. The horse trotted good late."

Make It A Double lifted his lifetime earnings to $94,011 for Andy Miller Stable, Jason Allen and Douglas Allen. Miller indicated Im Your Captain and Make It A Double would be pointed to the Simpson for their final starts this year.

In the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot, Classicality zipped to the front from post 8 and collected a comfortable 2-1/2-length victory in 1:55.1 for Brian Zendt and owner/trainer Lisa Dunn. The 8-year-old Classic Photo-Penn Worthy Lane gelding won for the 50th time in his career and extended his career bankroll to $647,812.

Stake racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the card features a $75,700 Keystone Classic for 3-year-old filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM.

by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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