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Springsteen pulls off upset in Hempt final
Saturday, June 30, 2018 - by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

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Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Springsteen rocked to a 15-1 upset in Saturday’s (June 30) $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where favorite Lather Up went off stride and suffered his first loss in eight starts this year.

Springsteen and driver Simon Allard used a three-wide move at three-quarters and overcame Nutcracker Sweet by a head to win in 1:48.3. Hitman Hill finished third.

 
Curtis Salonick photo
Springsteen and driver Simon Allard used a three-wide move at three-quarters and overcame Nutcracker Sweet by a head to win in 1:48.3.

Stay Hungry led the field to the first quarter in :26 before giving the top spot to Dorsoduro Hanover by the half-mile point, which was reached in :53.1. Lather Up, the North America Cup champion, made a first-over move on the backstretch but was unable to get to the front, leaving Springsteen to make a three-wide move as the group hit three-quarters in 1:20.2.

In the stretch, Nutcracker Sweet moved to the inside and got the lead, but was unable to hold off Springsteen. Lather Up, who got roughly gaited going around the first turn, went off stride as he came off the final turn and was seventh-placed-eighth in the field of nine.

“All I worry about is my horse being nice and relaxed,” Allard said. “He’s always so angry and wants to go fast. The fact they were going real fast to the half, I never had to grab into him and he was nice and relaxed. Whenever we can tip him whenever he wants to go, that’s the thing to do.

“We didn’t know how good of a 3-year-old he was going to be. We went through a little bit of a problem with him tying up but right now everything is back good. He’s ready for a good summer I guess.”

Springsteen is a son of Rock N Roll Heaven out of American Charm. He has won two of five races this year and five of 19 in his career, good for earnings of $479,423. The colt is owned by Allard Racing, Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Kapildeo Singh.

Springsteen paid $32.60 to win.

Max C. Hempt was a renowned Pennsylvania-based breeder, whose horses were known for the prefix “Keystone,” as well as a longtime director of the U.S. Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society. He served as the Hambletonian Society president from 1966-1984 and the creation of the Breeders Crown series evolved under his leadership. Hempt, who passed away in 1999, was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1980.

The Art Major colt Courtly Choice set the speedy tone for the evening by winning the $75,000 Hempt Pace Consolation in 1:48.4, equaling his mark and setting a national season’s record.

David Miller spotted fourth with Courtly Choice while I’m A Big Deal and Done Well battled well past a wicked :25.3 opening quarter, with Done Well claiming the top at the three-eighths and rolling on to the :53.2 half. Miller and Courtly Choice, who was the choice of the bettors, quickly got in gear down the backstretch, went by Done Well with no difficulty before the 1:21.1 three-quarter pole, and then finished out on his own, 12-1/2 lengths ahead of his rivals.

Courtly Choice, now a winner of $148,596 for trainer Blake MacIntosh and the ownership of Hutt Racing Stable, Mac And Heim Stables, Daniel Plouffe, and Touch Stone Farms, evidently has the speed to give with the division’s best -- what he still needs to master is how to draw a good post. He had post eight of nine in the North America Cup eliminations, was a troubled fifth, won the Cup Consolation, then drew post nine of nine in the Hempt elimination against Lather Up and had too far to come on the speed-favoring Pocono oval.

--- PHHA/Pocono also contributed to this report


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