Day At The Track

Fast N First is best in Jug 2nd division

10:01 AM 20 Sep 2019 NZST
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2019 Little Brown Jug logo.jpg

Blake MacIntosh had a hunch that Fast N First could compete with the horses that would enter the 2019 Little Brown Jug, and the second elimination showed that he was 100 percent right. In the final stride of the mile, Fast N First got up to nose out favored American American Mercury to win the second $128,000 elimination and solidify the field for the $384,000 final.

The race started with some hot early fractions as Semi Tough (Matt Kakaley) and Arties Ideal (Marcus Miller) sizzling to a :25.4 opening quarter. Semi Tough forced Arties Ideal into the pocket and then faced the serious threat of favoured American Mercury. Kakaley yielded and allowed Tyler Buter to land the Messenger winner on the lead in a sharp :53.3 half.

With Escapetothebeach racing first up and not advancing to challenge, Brett Miller angled Fast N First three-wide down the backside. Clearing Escapetothebeach, Fast N First couldn't drop down to the two path as Arties Ideal popped back out from third to forge first-up through a 1:21.2 third station. American Mercury maintained his lead around the final turn and turning for home, but the pressure was on from the three next best.

It appeared that American Mercury would hold off his rivals but Miller was able to get an extra gear out of Fast N First and help the colt live up to his name by getting his nose on the wire in a lifetime best 1:50.2. American Mercury, Arties Ideal and Semi Tough also advanced to the final.

"This is very exciting and it's a race I've always wanted to win," said an elated Miller in the winner's circle. "I felt like the race was definitely setting up for us. Blake told me to be sure to keep this horse's attention, and when I made the move up the backside he was very strong but going into the last turn he actually -- just being a colt -- kind of pulled up on me and it cost us a lot of ground. For him to come back on and win, that was strong."

Fast N First is owned by trainer Macintosh along with Ontario's Ridgeway Racing of Ridgeway and Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo. The horse picked up his eighth win of the series and fourth straight. The lion's share of the purse pushed his seasonal bankroll to $162,909.

"I really wasn't nervous going in," said MacIntosh. "This year I was just hoping to make the final and have some fun. Now we've got a little pressure on us."

MacIntosh is poised to win the Jug in back-to-back years, with two totally different back stories coming into the race. Despite not having a Courtly Choice this year, he felt Fast N First belonged with this group.

"I thought he'd be right there. I wasn't sure if he could win it but when I saw the draw I was pretty happy with the division we came out in. He's just been a good little colt...he's won eight times this year, and we've protected him pretty good all summer and haven't really raced him over his head. He came out and proved today he's a nice little colt."

After the second elimination, the posts for the final were drawn.

2019 Little Brown Jug Final ($384,000)
(Post – Horse – Driver)
1 – Southwind Ozzi – Brian Sears
2 – Fast N First – Brett Miller
3 – Air Force Hanover – Simon Allard
4 – American Mercury – Tyler Buter
5 – Stag Party – David Miller
6 – Arties Ideal – Marcus Miller (SCRATCHED)
7 – Semi Tough – Matt Kakaley
8 – Shake That House – Tim Tetrick (SCRATCHED)

From the Little Brown Jug

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