By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
LEXINGTON, KY— With the $500,000 Tattersalls Pace, a staple of The Red Mile’s Grand Circuit showcases, slated for next week, two divisions of sophomore colt pacers competed on the Saturday, September 27th card in the $185,200 Bluegrass.
Always B Miki parked for the first half of the mile, cleared the front into the far turn and sprinted home in :25.3 to win by 8 lengths in 1:47.4.
Melmerby Beach claimed the front from Somestarsomewhere around the first turn. Public-choice Always B Miki floated off the gate and was first over in fifth through a :26.3 first quarter.
Always B Miki soon hit the motor in the backstretch and got his nose in front of Melmerby Beach through a :54.4 (:28.1) half. Strolling past three-quarters in 1:22.1 (:27.2), Always B Miki was left unscathed by a late challenge from Melmerby Beach. Within a blink of an eye, Always B Miki was 6 lengths clear of Melmerby Beach, who would take second, and Capital Account, who would take third. Always B Miki stopped the clock in 1:47.4 (:25.3), the fastest mile of the night and a lifetime best.
Earning $567,716 in his career, the son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper-Artsplace is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D’or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable, trained by Joe Holloway, and driven by David Miller. He paid $2.40 to win.
“He gives me chills, too,” David Miller said in response to Always B Miki’s impressive mile. “He can motor along pretty good. He goes along pretty easily, and it’s pretty hard to judge his speed because he does it so easily, but I knew he was pacing pretty good down by the wire. He was going easy the whole way.”
“He’s a pretty nice horse,” trainer Joe Holloway said. “He gets over the ground very easily.”
Limelight Beach, fresh off his victory in the Little Brown Jug, traveled wire-to-wire in the other division of the Bluegrass in 1:49.1.
Heading straight to the pylons before the first turn, Limelight Beach secured the front. Big Boy Dreams tucked into the pocket, and Caviart Luca got away third. Limelight Beach paced by the opening panel in :27.4.
Unchallenged through a half in :56.1 (:28.2) and three-quarters in 1:23.1 (:27), Limelight Beach was ready to sprint home. He’s Watching applied pressure from first over while Somesizesomestyle drafted behind. Limelight Beach did drift off the pylons in his dash to the finish, but he held off He’s Watching and Big Boy Dreams in 1:49.1 (:26).
The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Benear-Badlands Hanover pushed his seasonal earnings to $515,038, with $725,230 credited to his overall career. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, M1 Stable, and Wingfield Brothers, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras, he paid $4.80 to win. His 1:49.1 mile is a lifetime mark.
“He was coming into his own heading into the Jug, and obviously came up big that day,” driver Yannick Gingras said. “It was a huge mile here tonight.”
“Into the first turn, there was no speed, so I was able to rate him to the half,” Gingras also said. “He’s Watching has a huge half in him, but I figured, in :56, my horse could come home in a big half, too.”
Live racing resumes on Sunday, September 28, with the $173,400 Bluegrass for three-year-old filly trotters and the $187,200 Bluegrass for three-year-old colt trotters. Post time is slated for 1:00pmEDT.
Race replays of action from The Red Mile can be found on our YouTube channel: Red Mile Harness.