Despite a downpour and a bad post position, Captaintrecheacherous kept his 2013 perfect record intact with his win in the $500,000 Hempt Memorial Pace at Pocono Downs.
Although there was $2 million in purse money and four major stake races, including a track record, a world record equaling performance and a world record, the evening of June 29 at Pocono Downs still seemed to belong to the Captain. Captaintreacherous that is.
Last year’s Horse of the Year at age two, Captaintreacherous kept his perfect 5-5 record for 2013 intact when he captured the $500,000 Hempt Memorial Pace Final from the nine post, which is a known disadvantage over this oval, in a veritable downpour by a neck over Vegas Vacation, with Sunfire Blue Chip in third. In rein to Tim Tetrick, currently North America’s leading money winning driver with a little more than $6.5 million in the bank, the son of Somebeachsomewhere and Worldly Beauty was far back at the top of the stretch but came home with a sustained rush and held his position safe at the wire in 1:49.2.
Conditioned by Tony Alagna and owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Group, the colt collected purse money of $808,293 this season and bumped his career total up to $1.72 million with 13 victories from 15 trips to the gate.
“He was tremendous,” Alagna said immediately after the race. “To do what he did over this track the way it is after the downpour, if that’s not a mile in (1):47 then I don’t know what is on a good track. To be out as far as he was over this, it’s a monster mile. I had confidence. When he landed second over I knew this horse fitness wise was in great shape. I told Timmy he’s never been better tonight warming up. I told him he was going to be out the whole way, but I still think he’ll get the job done.”
The Captain then went on to triumph in the $635,000 Meadowlands Pace Final on July 13 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1:48.1 by three plus lengths, and remained perfect in this year’s campaign. He is also only the third horse to win the Woodrow Wilson as a freshman (Niatross and Nihilator) and then take home the hardware in the Pace.
Long before Captaintreacherous exhibited his talent, Uncle Peter started the night off with a world record mile of 1:50.3 in a preferred trot. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the colt, who is owned by John and Jim Fielding, Takter’s wife Christina and Goran Falk, is named after Fielding’s uncle who passed from leukemia.
He had shown tremendous talent as a 2-year-old when he won the Breeders Crown trot for his age, gait and gender and was the favorite for last year’s Hambletonian, however, Market Share trotted off as the victor and carried his momentum to divisional honors.
Takter has always had the utmost confidence in Uncle Peter and this was the second world record he had trotted at Pocono Downs this year.
“I’ve been high on him all his life,” Takter told the media after the winners’ circle presentation. “To see him go a world record today was an unbelievable feeling.”
In one of the most exciting races of the evening, 9-year-old Foiled Again became the first pacer in the history of the sport to make $5 million and became the third richest Standardbred of all time when he defeated the field in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace Final. The week before, he set a world record in his $50,000 Elimination, and he was last year’s divisional championship and the 2011 Horse of the Year.
Trained by Canonsburg, PA resident Ron Burke and owned by Burke Stables, Mark Weaver, Mike Bruschemi and JJK Stables, Foiled Again came home with his patented late rush to be a nose in front of Pet Rock and a neck in front of Razzle Dazzle at the finish line.
“Everybody writes him off and he comes back and shows what kind of horse he is,” Yannick Gingras, the gelding’s regular pilot said before the race. “I know I’m young (33), I don’t think many people have seen a horse like him; the way he’s done it for so many years in a row. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. You’ve got to give the Burkes a lot of credit. They do a great job at keeping him happy. He’s an unbelievable horse. He’s got $4.9 million and it’s not because he’s the fastest horse, it’s because he’s the toughest horse. It’s his heart.”
It appeared the undefeated Smilin Eli was in prime position to add a win in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot to his resume and assume favoritism for this year’s edition of the Hambletonian. In mid-stretch, however, he appeared to run out of gas and trotted home in the second slowest quarter of the nine horses in the race. Another Takter trainee, Corky, who Smilin Eli had easily handled in the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final several weeks earlier, came first up and glided easily under the wire for his third victory in a row, while throwing his name into the mix as a top contender for Hambletonian.
Although it wasn’t a stakes final, Bolt The Duer’s performance in the $50,000 Ben Franklin Pace Consolation tied his own world record. The 4-year-old son of Ponder and Wonderbolt already held the world record of 1:47.4 on a five-eighths of a mile track when he won last year’s Adios at the Meadows. Capitalizing on a perfect pocket trip, the colt, who is owned by All Star Racing, sprinted home and stopped the clock in 1:47.4.
“I knew we were in trouble when we were in the three spot (in the elimination the previous week),” Peter Foley, the stallion’s conditioner said. “He just wasn’t able to get out, but I was very pleased with that mile in the consolation. He is a very fast horse, that doesn’t like to let other horses by him and I’ve been telling people I think he can pace in 1:46 this year.”
I Luv The Nitelife
While the boys definitely garnered more attention, I Luv The Nitelife showed once again she is at the top of her division with a facile victory in the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial Final over Shebestingin. Like the Captain and Smilin Eli, she was a victim of far outside post, but the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and Lisjune, who is trained by Chris Ryder and owned by Richard and Joanne Young, did not let her post hamper her run.
In mid-stretch, her driver Tim Tetrick, simply pulled her out of the pocket and she cruised right on by Shebestingin in 1:50. It looked like all Tetrick had to do was hold on. It was the filly’s fifth victory from her last six starts and her second consecutive stakes victory after capturing the $384,040 Fan Hanover Final two weeks earlier. For 2013 I Luv The Nitelife has earned $409,922, but for her career she has won 9 of 16 starts and a little more than $1 million.
The filly also showed her class at age two with a victory in the $616,100 She’s A Great Lady Stakes and a second in the Breeders Crown and was named Canada’s top 2-year-old filly pacer.
“This is about the way we planned it,” Ryder told Standardbred Canada before the Fan Hanover Final. “It took her a couple starts last year to get going and this year she’s progressing; she’s getting better each week and that’s what we’re relying on. Mind you, she’s a different horse this year; she knows how to race going into [the season]. Last year she had to learn a little bit. I’m just hoping she gets a little bit out of each race. She’s the type of filly that needs some racing right now and she’s going to get it.”