Day At The Track

Blais hopes for calmer 'Hurricane' in Adios

04:53 AM 20 Jul 2017 NZST
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Hurricane Beach
Hurricane Beach
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Hurricane Beach's career got off to a stormy start, but trainer Luc Blais' forecast calls for better days ahead as the harness racing 3-year-old pacer continues to mature.

A headstrong youngster, Hurricane Beach was gelded last year and has won three of six races this season. He heads to Saturday's eliminations of the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids at The Meadows off a 9-1/4 length win in 1:51 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 9.

The Adios attracted 14 horses, which were divided into two eliminations. The top four finishers from each division plus the fifth-place finisher with the highest career earnings return for the final on July 29. Meadowlands Pace winner Huntsville is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the first elim; North America Cup winner Fear The Dragon is the 7-5 choice in the second.

Hurricane Beach is 20-1 in the elimination with Fear The Dragon, who is the No. 1-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Daniel Dube will drive Hurricane Beach for Blais and owner Determination stable.

"He's got the physical (attributes) to be a top horse," Blais said. "But to be a top horse you have to be smart too. With racing and maturity, I think he's going to do better. We want to have patience. He has lots of speed that horse. Waiting for him, I think he's going to get better and better. He's a nice horse, a big horse, strong and very fast."

Hurricane Beach is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Blazing Yankee. He was purchased for $230,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale and is a half-brother to world-record-setting Hurrikane Kingcole. His family also includes stakes-winners Lady Luvs Diamonds, Banner Yankee and Electric Yankee.

Blais raced Hurricane Beach only three times last year, with a best finish of third in a conditioned race, before putting the horse away for the season.

"He was very hot last year," Blais said. "I didn't want to go too far with him because I knew he was a little bit aggressive. Sometimes you keep racing and you make a crazy horse. That's why we turned him out right away. We brought him back and took our time with him. He came back pretty good. I think he is better than last year."

Hurricane Beach was second in his 2017 debut and won his next start. He made it two in a row with a victory in a career-best 1:50.3 in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes on June 3 at Mohawk and then finished fourth in his elimination of the North America Cup, failing to advance to the final. A week later in the consolation division, he sped to the first quarter in :25.1 and half in :53 before finishing fifth.

Blais, whose best known recent successes include two-time O'Brien Award-winning trotter Intimidate and Ontario Sire Stakes champion trotter Emoticon Hanover, gave the gelding a week off in the field before returning to work. He made equipment changes for Hurricane Beach's most recent race, the win at Philly.

"He raced good," said Blais, who worked with stakes-winning pacers such as Goliath Bayama and Goodtime Bayama during his days in Quebec with Yves Filion's Bayama Farms. "Maybe he calmed down. Danny said he was more in control. We'll see.

"We just need a little bit of luck."

Saturday's card at The Meadows begins at 1:05 p.m., with the Adios eliminations set for 3:45 p.m. approximately. The Adios final July 29 anchors a blockbuster afternoon card that features six Grand Circuit stakes.

Following are the fields for the Adios eliminations, in post order with preliminary driving assignments, trainers and morning-line odds:

Adios Elimination 1, Race 9
1. Boogie Shuffle-Scott Zeron-Mark Harder-20/1
2. RJP-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/1
3. Highalator-Dave Palone-Jeffrey Long-10/1
4. Miso Fast-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/2
5. Blood Line-Mark MacDonald-Jimmy Takter-4/1
6. Southwind Yukon-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1
7. Huntsville-Tim Tetrick-Ray Schnittker-7/5

Adios Elimination 2, Race 10
1. Western Hill-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-5/1
2. Lawrencetown Beach-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1
3. Fear The Dragon-David Miller-Brian Brown-7/5
4. Hurricane Beach-Daniel Dube-Luc Blais-20/1
5. Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2
6. Eddard Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-20/1
7. Independent One-Matt Kakaley-John Butenschoen-4/1

Ken Weingartner

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