By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
LEXINGTON, KY— The $323,200 International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old filly trotters, marking the midpoint of the Grand Circuit meeting, was contested on the afternoon of Thursday, October 2.
Merrie Annabelle champion Mission Brief effortlessly sprinted around the Lexington oval, and destroyed her competition by 18 lengths in 1:50.3, breaking the world record of 1:52.1 she established, and Jolene Jolene reinforced at Lexington, at Mohawk this year.
Perfectly timing the start, Yannick Gingras sent Mission Brief to the top, while Waiting Room sat second and Gold Cora third. She would remain uncontested through fractions of :28, :55.1 (:27.1), and 1:23 (:27.4).
As Waiting Room backtracked, and Gold Cora, as well as Counsellor As, circled by, Mission Brief began to sprint for home. Under encouragement from Gingras, her 7-length lead at the top of the stretch grew, and she was a distant winner over Gold Cora and Hot Start in 1:50.3 (:27.3).
Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, Jerry & Theresa Silva, and Weaver Bruscemi and trained by Ron Burke, the Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena-Varenne filly has amassed $313,315 in seasonal earnings, with her 1:50.3 world record also being a lifetime best. She paid $2.40 to win.
“She’s been here for two weeks and she’s been very good here, mentally,” trainer Ron Burke said. “It’s never been a soundness thing with her. It’s always been getting her mentally sound for the race. She’s a super freaky filly, and Yannick has done a super job with her. She could have gone another direction, but Yannick has been very patient with her, and today was the calmest I’ve seen her.”
“She is just a special filly and also makes me nervous,” co-owner Jerry Silva said. “A filly with her kind of speed is just scary. She ranks right up there with some of the greats, including Muscle Hill.”
Flirting Filly, taking to the outside at the half-mile mark, took control in the stretch and held off a late bid from Ready To Ignite in 1:54.3.
Kirsi Hanover and Ready To Ignite battled for control, with Kirsi Hanover emerging on top through a :28 first quarter. After a half in :56.1 (:28.1), Kirsi Hanover was bracing for a challenge from Flirting Filly.
Flirting Filly gained the lead at three-quarters in 1:25.1 (:29). Kirsi Hanover gradually dropped back, while Wiclet Hanover, tracking Flirting Filly’s far-turn move, took second and soon broke.
As Flirting Filly approached the finish, Ready To Ignite sighted daylight and began a bid for the lead. At the finish, Ready To Ignite galloped, and Flirting Filly held on in 1:54.3 (:28.2). Ready To Ignite was second, and Aarena Hanover finished third.
A daughter of Broadway Hall-Flirtin My Way-Mr Lavec, she’s owned by Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Brittany Farms. Paying $14.80 to win, she pushed her bankroll to $71,121. Her 1:54.3 mile is a lifetime best.
Livininthefastlane was victorious in 1:53.4 over Pad Princess and Bee The Queen.
Bee The Queen got the lead with ease, and was uncontested through splits of :28.3 and :56.2 (:27.4). After the half, Livininthefastlane, prompted by the first-over move of Pad Princess, went two wide to challenge the leader.
Coming eye-to-eye with Bee The Queen at three-quarters in 1:25.3 (:29.1), Livininthefastlane soon took control. Pad Princess was giving chase in second, while Bee The Queen was holding onto third. Livininthefastlane was victorious over Pad Princess, sent off at 80-1, in 1:53.4 (:28.1), a lifetime best.
Now earning $208,813 this season, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole’s Promise-Dream Vacation is owned by Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Sam Goldband, trained by Julie Miller, and driven by Tim Tetrick. Sent off the 4/5 favorite, she paid $3.80 to win, with the $2 exacta (over Pad Princess) returning $118.20.
“The last two races she’s really put it together, and I’m the one lucky enough to be in the winner’s circle with her,” driver Tim Tetrick said. “When my filly came out, she came out strong, and she trotted all the way to the wire.”
“This filly is very nice and raced well all year for us,” Andy Miller, wife of Julie Miller, said. “She was especially good in Indiana at Hoosier Park when she won the Kentuckiana Stake in 1:56.”
Following cover for the latter half of the mile, Concentration, upon kicking off her cover, trotted by her foes to win in 1:54.1.
Smokinmambo protected the inside and took the lead, while Nunkeri trotted in second and Lilu Hanover was caught wide in third. After a :28 quarter, Lilu Hanover took the lead. Approaching the half, Love Me Madly rushed from fifth to brush to the top. The half went in :55.3 (:27.3).
Shaqline was left uncovered around the far turn, as Love Me Madly was holding onto the lead.
Concentration was trotting second over, and Lilu Hanover was caught in the pocket. After three-quarters in 1:24.2 (:28.4), Concentration kicked off cover.
Lilu Hanover had room to split horses, but failed to trot by. Shaqline was stalled on the outside, and Love Me Madly was clinging to the lead. Concentration, full of trot, easily passed them in the final sixteenth-of-a-mile to win in 1:54.1 (:29.4).
Owned by Raymond Campbell, trained by George Ducharme, and driven by Brian Sears, the daughter of Conway Hall-Super Starlet-Muscles Yankee has now earned $159,505 this season. Her 1:54.1 mile is a lifetime best. She paid $36.80 to win.
“It was a first time for her on the big track last week, and she came home really well,” driver Brian Sears said. “I was real happy with her. They made a few shoeing changes with her this week to make her even better. She’s a nice filly; she was unlucky in the [New York] Sires Stakes Final, I think she would’ve had no problem getting it done in that race, but the track [Yonkers Raceway] was in bad shape before they scraped it.”
“It was a classic Lexington trip that you look to have around here,” Sears also said. “There’s a lot of work being done up on the front early, and I got drawn up into it. It worked out perfect.”
On the undercard of the Thursday program, The Red Mile honored one of the greatest pacers of this decade, Captaintreacherous, with a retirement ceremony. Winning 23 times out of 33 tries, as well as capturing $3,148,657 in earnings. He won eight of 10 starts at two, with earnings of $918,253, and he won 13 of 16 races at three, with earnings of $2,055,033. Highlighted wins include the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, and the Breeders Crown. Elected Pacer of the Year at two and three, he joined Niatross as the only other pacer to reach this feat. He will stand stud at Hanover Shoe Farms beginning in February 2015.
Captaintreacherous’ retirement was onset by a low respiratory bug, which was also the culprit for his scratch from the Canadian Pacing Derby. He has not been able to overcome it since then.
Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Friday, October 3 with three divisions of the $253,700 International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old filly pacers and four divisions of the $383,600 International Stallion Stakes for two-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.