By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
LEXINGTON, KY— Sophomore colt trotters prepped for the $500,000 Kentucky Futurity, slated for Sunday, October 5th, in two divisions of the $187,200 Bluegrass Stakes on Sunday, September 28th.
Divisional-leader Father Patrick floated off the gate, took control in the backstretch, and effortlessly trotted to a 1:50.4 victory over Lightning Force.
The field was led by Lightning Force, who set a :28.1 opening split. Entering the backstretch, Yannick Gingras edged Father Patrick off the pylons and quickly claimed the lead. He was uncontested through a :56 (:27.4) half and 1:23.3 (:27.3) third quarter.
Gingras piloted Father Patrick through the stretch with a hand drive, while Lightning Force chased in second and Martiniwithmuscle in third. Father Patrick crossed the finish line in 1:50.4 (:27.1).
Owned by Father Patrick Stable, trained by Jimmy Takter, and driven by Yannick Gingras, the son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream-Enjoy Lavec paid $2.10 to win. Father Patrick has $1,927,508 in career earnings.
“He’s one of a kind; I’ve never been around a horse even close to his kind,” trainer Jimmy Takter said.
“I’ve got to give that horse [Nuncio] a lot of credit,” Takter also said, commenting on Nuncio’s performance earlier in the card. “He’s been chasing this horse [Father Patrick] for two years, and he’s still keeping his spirits up. He’s a fantastic horse.”
Nuncio, getting away fourth in the early stages, patiently progressed towards the front and left his foes in the dust with a 1:50.4 victory in the other division of the Bluegrass.
Hillustrious and Datsyuk contested for the top, while Damfoolrmillionair got away third. Datsyuk cleared the lead after a :27.4 quarter. Hillustrious was anxious in the pocket as Dastyuk set a half in :54.4 (:27).
Entering the far turn, Hillustrious sprung out of the pocket and took control as Datsyuk backed out of the race. Nuncio had begun an overland journey and was up to challenge Hillustrious through a 1:23.3 (:28.4) third quarter.
Under minimal encouragement, Nuncio trotted by and away from Hillustrious, who battled for second between Mr Lindy and Damfoolrmillionair. Nuncio won by 6 ½ lengths over Hillustrious, Mr Lindy, and Damfoolrmillionair in 1:50.4 (:27.1).
A son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane, he is owned by Stall Tz Inc., trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by John Campbell. His 1:50.4 mile is a lifetime best, and he has now bankrolled $1,271,470 in his career. He paid $2.40 to win.
“Before, if you started him [Nuncio] up at the gate, you couldn’t stop him,” driver John Campbell said. “His manners have gotten so much better; he relaxes in the hole. They were going hot on the front, so when I did move him, he trotted up there comfortably, and trotted home well within himself.
I was pretty sure, coming off the turn for home, that he was going to win.”
Live racing will resume on Thursday, October 2nd with the $300,000 International Stallion Series for two-year-old filly trotters. The entry box will be open until 9:30amEDT on Monday, September 29th. Post time for that card is scheduled for 1:00pmEDT.
Race replays of action from The Red Mile can be found on our YouTube channel: Red Mile Harness.