By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
LEXINGTON, KY— Freshmen filly pacers competed in three divisions of the $287,600 Bluegrass stakes on Friday, September 26 at The Red Mile.
With favorites dominating a majority of the evening, Ideal Nuggets defied the math and blew up the tote board at 173-1 in 1:50.4.
Bedroomconfessions left for the top, while Ideal Nuggets was sent into the pocket. After a quarter in :27.4, Bedroomconfessions secured the top. Leading through a :56.1 (:28.2) half, Bedroomconfessions was soon challenged by favored Shakai Hanover. The two battled past three quarters in 1:23.4 (:27.3).
Shakai Hanover abandoned the battle midway through the stretch. Given room, Ideal Nuggets slingshot from the pocket and by Bedroomconfessions to win in 1:50.4 (:27). Divine Caroline closed for second and
Bedroomconfessions settled for third.
Paying $249.20 to win, the Western Ideal-Rough Sketch-Art Major filly is owned by Robert and Lauren Tucker, trained by Ed Lohmeyer and was driven by David Miller. Breaking her maiden, her 1:50.4 mile is a lifetime mark. She has earned $100,623 this year.
Bettor Be Steppin blazed around the oval to win in 1:52 as the 1/9 favorite.
Hillary’s Style got the lead, while Devil Child tucked into the pocket, and Bettor Be Steppin got away in third.
Driver Corey Callahan gave the public choice the cue to brush to the lead into a :27.3 first quarter.
Securing the front midway through the backstretch, she continued to lead through a :55.3 (:28) half-mile. Rock Her World pulled first over, with Seeking Nirvana drafting behind. Bettor Be Steppin managed to get a breather in a 1:25.2 (:29.4) third quarter.
Bettor Be Steppin continued to lead through the stretch, while Hillary’s Style attempted to slide up the inside. Rock Her World and Seeking Nirvana gave chase as Bettor Be Steppin sprinted home to a 1:52 (:26.3) victory.
Owned by Val D’or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz, and trained by Joe Holloway, the Bettor’s Delight-Two Steppin’ Sally-Western Hanover filly paid $2.20 to win. Bettor Be Steppin lowered her lifetime mark of 1:52.2, obtained a week ago at Hoosier Park. She has earned $209,487 this season.
“I had to use her [Bettor Be Steppin] a little bit to get to the lead,” driver Corey Callahan said. “Through the last turn, I was able to get a nice breather in, and, when I called on her, she stepped away. I think she had more if I needed it.”
Sassa Hanover commandeered the field shortly after the half and progressed to a 3-length victory over 4/5 favorite Heavenly Bride in 1:51.
She’s Heavenly took the front, with Crescent City taking second and Crucial Moment in third. Crescent City edged out of the pocket and swept by She’s Heavenly after a first quarter in :28.
Approaching the half, Sassa Hanover pulled first over and had a ¾-length lead through a :56 (:28) half-mile. She was strolling in control around the far turn, as She’s Heavenly was flushed by Heavenly Bride en route to three-quarters. Sassa Hanover led by the third panel in 1:24.3 (:28.3).
Sassa Hanover began to draw away from Crescent City chasing in second, as well as She’s Heavenly and Heavenly Bride trying to close into their deficit. Sassa Hanover was victorious in 1:51 (:26.2) over Heavenly Bride, Crescent City, and a closing Zip Code Envy.
The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover-Allamerican Native is owned by Burke Racing Stables, The Panhellenic Stables, Weaver Bruscemi, and Larry Karr, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras. She paid $4.20 to win. Her mile of 1:51 is a lifetime mark, and her win puts her at $212,091 in seasonal earnings.
“Ronnie told me to draw a line through that last start, as the track was bad,” Yannick Gingras said. “We were planning on racing her from the back, but, getting away fourth, if I come first up, I carry Brian [Sears and Heavenly Bride] into the race, so I decided to move to the front. I had the plugs still in, and I showed her the whip to keep her to task, but she had some pace left.”
Racing resumes on Saturday, September 27 with the $331,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old colt pacers, $185,200 Bluegrass for three-year-old colt pacers, and the $146,600 Bluegrass for three-year-old filly pacers. Post time is scheduled for 7:00pmEDT.
Race replays can be found on The Red Mile’s YouTube channel: Red Mile Harness.