Lexington, KY --- The Sunday (Sept. 29) matinee program at The Red Mile was highlighted by three divisions in the Bluegrass Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters.
Spider Blue Chip was the fastest winner of the day, capturing the $87,900 third and final contest in 1:51.3, a personal best and a Red Mile track record for a 3-year-old trotting gelding.
|Ron Pierce drove Spider Blue Chip to a track record 1:51.3 victory.|
Ron Pierce got the driving assignment for the son of Andover Hall-Southwind Catlin and he took the Chuck Sylvester trainee to the winner's circle for the eighth time in 14 season's starts. Owned by David McDuffee and Melvin Hartman, Spider Blue Chip has now banked $686,063 in 2013.
All Laid Out (Yannick Gingras) was on top at the opening quarter in :28, but yielded to Spider Blue Chip who cleared to the front on the way to the :55.1 half-mile marker.
Pierce rated a :29.1 third quarter as he tripped the timer in 1:24.2 and tried to hold off the first-over challenge of Pine Credit (Corey Callahan).
Those two dueled down the lane, but Spider Blue Chip ($6.40) was up to the challenge and held off Pine Credit by three-quarters of a length at the wire. All Laid Out picked up the show dough.
Spider Blue Chip had some breaking problems in recent starts in the Zweig at Vernon and the Old Oaken Bucket at Delaware, but his trainer made an equipment adjustment that worked like a charm today.
"Well he broke at Delaware," said Sylvester. "I put a bridle on him that made him a little bit too hot and he couldn't make it out of the turns. (Today) was his first time this year with an open bridle.
"He's made a lot of money and he's battled with the best of them all year. He's a very nice horse.
"He's got the (Kentucky) Futurity next week and let's hope we can get through that and then on to the Breeders Crown."
|Creatine (#5) was a narrow winner in 1:52.3 for Mike Lachance.|
Diamond Creek Racing's Creatine was a wire-to-wire winner in the $86,900 first division, stopping the clock in 1:52.3. Mike Lachance was in the bike for trainer Bob Stewart as the Andover Hall-Berry Nice Muscles colt won for the sixth time in 11 trips behind the gate and extended his winning streak to three. The Hambletonian elimination winner has earned $276,977 this year.
Starting from post five, Creatine ($3.00) left the gate strongly and got to the top by the opening quarter in :28.2. He then rated middle panels of :56.2 and 1:25.
Punxsutawney (Corey Callahan) came first over on the final turn and challenged Creatine for the rest of the mile, but fell a half-length short at the wire. Deadliest Catch (Ron Pierce) also made a run at the winner along the rail in deep stretch and wound up third, also a half-length back.
"I didn't really want to race him in front today," said Lachance, "but the race just set up for that. I tried to cut even fractions and he dug in at the end.
"I didn't ask him for anything on the last turn. I just waited until the top of the stretch and he was good enough that he held on."
P G Van Camp Stables' Your So Vain came from far back to win the $86,900 middle division in a time of 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick steered the Brad Maxwell trainee to his fourth win in nine 2013 starts. Your So Vain (Donato Hanover-Tennis Lover) has now earned $303,830 this year.
|USTA/Mark Hall photos|
|Your So Vain rallied late to post a 1:53.3 score for Tim Tetrick.|
Bluto and Andy Miller cut fractions of :29.2, :57.1 and 1:25.3 in this division with Lindy's Tru Grit (Scott Zeron) sitting in the pocket. Your So Vain was seventh and last for the opening half-mile and was still sixth at the three-quarter pole, 6-1/2 lengths behind the leader.
Zeron made a move off the rail in the lane and briefly grabbed the lead, but he had no answer for the hard charging Your So Vain who made up a lot of ground in the lane to post the impressive three-quarter length win. Lindy's Tru Grit held on for second and Vibe Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras) was third.
"He just wants to put his nose out and he proved it today," said Tetrick. "I drove him a couple of times last year and he's just a nice, nice horse; he's nothing flashy but he really likes to get to the house.
"Today he proved that he can make up six, seven lengths in the lane which is pretty awesome. I mean he had to make up eight, nine lengths. He was a long way back there. At the quarter pole I was really cussing myself for getting back as far as I did with the slow fractions.
"He shows he loves to race home and he loves to pass horses."