Nichols, NY --- Geoffrey Lyons Mound's Lyonssomewhere led from start to finish and posted an upset at odds of 19-1 with a 1:49.4 score in the $437,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Triple Crown, on Monday (Sept. 1) at Tioga Downs.
Yannick Gingras was in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter as the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Miss Kitty Hanover posted his fifth win in nine season's starts, lifting his 2014 earnings to $370,892.
|Fred Brown photo|
|Lyonssomewhere held off the late charging He's Watching to take the 60th Cane Pace.|
Starting from post position seven, Gingras fired Lyonssomewhere ($40.20) right out of the gate and took the field to a fast opening quarter of :26 with Luck Be Withyou in the pocket and Stevensville sitting third. Those positions did not change as the leader put in a second panel of :27.3 to hit the half-mile marker in :53.3.
Down the backstretch, Lyonssomewhere remained on top, but was challenged briefly by a now first over Luck Be Withyou, but that challenge was quickly rebuffed as Stevenville slipped up the rail and took over the second spot at the 1:21.3 three-quarter pole.
Turning for home, Lyonssomewhere was never seriously challenged until the very end of the mile, when prohibitive favorite He's Watching finally made a valiant charge, only to fall short at the wire by a half-length in the 1:49.4 clocking. Doo Wop Hanover rallied to finish third, Bushwacker was fourth and JK Endofanera ended up fifth.
"Ronnie (Pierce on Luck Be Withyou) tried a couple of times to make a move, but he wasn't one of the horses that I wanted to follow," said Yannick Gingras in explaining his desire to cut the mile. "I really didn't know what I was going to do behind the gate.
"I wasn't sure (if my horse had enough to hold off He's Watching). You know, he's got a wicked kick. Around the last turn I saw that Brian (Sears on JK Endofanera) was second over, so at that point I figured I needed to create some separation. It worked."
"You know we supplemented the horse (for $35,000)," said trainer Jimmy Takter. "When we got the seven post I told Geoff (Lyons Mound) we never get lucky with this horse. But he had a great week going into this race and I had a feeling that he could do it. He raced in the Meadowlands Pace (finishing fourth) and the North America Cup (winding up fifth) and he was right with them.
"(We supplemented him) because he was very lightly staked, so we decided to take a shot at this race, so we can take a shot for the (Little Brown) Jug (the second leg of the Triple Crown on Sept. 18 in Delaware, Ohio)."
The undercard featured the $124,325 Shady Daisy for 3-year-old pacing fillies, with Also Encouraging ($7.40) rallying down the grandstand side off a fourth-over trip to beat Katie Said (Marcus Miller) and Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras) in 1:52 after Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) was worn down on the far turn after setting torrid fractions. David Miller handled the driving duties behind the Western Terror filly for trainer Casie Coleman.
Additionally, top distaff trotters contested a $40,000 Miss Versatility preliminary event, with Charmed Life ($19.60) establishing a new overall trotting track record in a 1:52.2 effort, kicking cover to beat Classic Martine (Tim Tetrick) and Frau Blucher (Ron Pierce). Jody Jamieson drove the 4-year-old daughter of Majestic Son for trainer David Menary.
The Labor Day card also saw Yannick Gingras triumph in the $25,000 Vernon/Tioga Drivers' Championship, winning the sixth race on the card with Cabrera en route to his title. A pair of wins from Matt Kakaley propelled him into second place, while Ron Pierce finished third.
Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Thursday (Sept. 4), with first post set for 6:15 p.m. (EDT).
-- James Witherite, Tioga Downs racing media, also contributed to this report