Day At The Track
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When Direct Scooter's son In The Pocket was first shuttled into New Zealand in the mid 1990s, one of the first comments from breeders with knowledge of the North American scene was don't go near a filly by either Direct Scooter or any of his sons. They had acquired a terrible reputation in North America for not trying and a 50% discount was available to breeders if they bred a filly by Direct Scooter in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course In The Pocket put that bogey man to rest in year one with the brilliant filly Under Cover Lover 1:51.8 ($864,923) but the stigma around the Direct Scooter line and fillies has never really gone away in some quarters. Most of the fillies associated with the Direct Scooter line down under have a reputation for getting 'hot' at times but that hasn't stopped them producing some outstanding fillies and mares in the last few years. Mach Three took over from In The Pocket as Direct Scooters flag bearer down under a few years back and has produced a string of fillies of the highest class in the last few seasons which has earned the son of Matts Scooter a belated acknowledgement that he is a top filly sire in his own right. In North America he has had such standouts as Money On My Wheel1:49.6 ($1,705,434), Mach You And Me 1:50.2 ($800,819) and the two top three-year-old fillies in 2015, Solar Sister 1:50.3s ($769,028) and Wrangler Magic 1:50.2s ($737,040), while in New Zealand we have Venus Serena 1:52.1 ($796,397), Joyfuljoy 1:51.6 ($480,442), Millwood Meg 1:53.5 ($336,795) and Supersonic Miss 1:54.1 ($308,517) to name just a few. There are only half a dozen Mach Three fillies in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale this year at Karaka on February 22nd and we thought that Lot 69, Jersey Bay ticked all the boxes for us. The third foal from the former outstanding age group performer in Pullover Brown 1:56.7 ($311,937) who won the New Zealand Oaks, Victoria Oaks and Australian Oaks at three, Jersey Bay is a full sister to the very promising Runaway Bay 1:53.7 ($77,723) Not only was Pullover Brown a star on the track, but she has a pedigree straight out of the top drawer as well. She is a full sister to the brilliant Montecito 1:49.4 ($527,559) and a half sister to Against The Wind 1:59 who is the dam of Pass Them By 1:51.4 ($276,348) The third dam Precious Dina won eight in New Zealand and is the grand-dam of the brilliant racemare Flight South 1:1:56.3 ($290,766) who won The Auckland Cup, so there is no shortage of quality fillies and mares close up in the pedigree. Jersey Bay herself is a typical Mach Three in type which was another big plus for us. On breeding and type, Jersey Bay should attract a lot of buyer interest at Karaka in a months time. To view the catalogue for the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale click here. Harnesslink Media

In the 1980s there were a number of memorable race track confrontations on the local harness racing circuit and one that has always stuck out in my mind came in the latter part of 1988 at Sportsman’s Park. It was the $384,000 American National on the first Saturday of November, a 3-year-old pacing stake that was billed nationally as the “Showdown of the Tear. A victory by Matt’s Scooter would clinch 3-year-old of the year honors and put the Direct Scooter colt in strong positon to win Pacer of the Year Honors. However the task wasn’t going to be easy for Matt’s Scooter. All the big guns in the sophomore division came to town and each one wanted to leave with the winning $192,250 check Unfortunately the weatherman didn’t co-operate on November 5, 1988. The evening was very chilly and the track was sloppy from a steady day-long rain but that didn’t put a damper on the race or the enthusiasm of a jam-packed crowd in attendance at the Cicero, Illinois facility. Matt’s Scooter and driver Mike Lachance earlier that year became the fastest harness horse in the sport’s history with a 1:48.2 time trial at Lexington, smashing the old record of 1:49.2 set by the great Niatross 8 years earlier. In The American National showdown Lachance got Matt’s Scooter to the top on the rain-soaked racing strip and put away a bid from Camtastic, one of his chief rivals, at the three-quarter pole. He then held off a spirited rally from another major rival, Albert Albert, finishing 1 and 1/2 lengths ahead in the 1:55.3 mile in the slop. Matt’s Scooter would go on to earn $1,783,588 in his second season winning 11 of 22 starts with 7 seconds and 2 thirds, failing to hit the tote board only once in 1988, earning both Three-Year-Old and Pacer of the Year honors. A season-later as a 4-year-old Matt’s Scooter was named the 1989 Harness Horse of the Year when he captured 23 of 30 starts. often against the very best pacers in the U.S. and Canada for trainer Harry Poulton while adding another $1.14 million to his bankroll for his Canadian owners Illa Rumpel and Charles Juravinski. Matt turned in at that time the fastest mile ever in Canada when he captured the Mohawk Gold Cup in 1:51. He also won the Breeders Crown, William Haughton Memorial, Driscoll Free-For-All, and legs of the U.S. Pacing Championship, George Morton Levy Memorial, and Graduate Series. In a 1989 media interview his trainer Harry Poulton had this to say about Matt’s Scooter: “He never really did anything bad. He didn’t break any carts, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was always bucking, kicking or doing something. We shipped him home 12 hours one day, and the next day he was on his hind legs in the yard. I don’t know where he got his energy.” Matt’s Scooter was retired at the end of his 4-year-old campaign and went on to be an splendid stallion. In his 22 years at stud—all but one standing at Perretti's flagship farm in New Jersey—Matt’s Scooter sired the winners of more than $76.3 million, with five millionaires. His greatest legacies as a sire were Mach Three (1:49, $2,376,700), who won the 2002 Meadowlands Pace and produced the great Pacer of the Year and world record holder Somebeachsomewhere (1:46.4, $3,221,299), Royal Mattjesty (1:48.4, $1,840,681); the 1996 Three-Year-Old Filly of the Year Mystical Maddy (1:50 $1,436,325) and His Mattjesty (1:50 $1,038,861). As a broodmare sire, Matts Scooter's credentials include the million-dollar winning mares Glowing Report, Economy Terror, Yellow Diamond and Drop The Ball. The horse was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the U.S. Living Hall of Fame in 1996. Matt’s Scooter was euthanized on June 30 of 2014 at the age of 29. 1989 Breeders Crown 1998 Meadowlands Pace 1998 Confederation Cup By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association

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