Northfield hosts numerous three-year-old stakes

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

August 13th, 2017

Saturday night the focus was on one of the sport's unheralded tracks where many of the sport's top three-year-olds were on hand at Northfield Park for the $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial and fittingly the sport's top sophomore, Fear The Dragon, drew the coveted rail over the Cleveland half-mile oval.

Fear The Dragon (David Miller) arrived as the highest rated horse in the land of either gait and any age and was made the 1-5 favorite from the rail, while stablemate Downbytheseaside (Brian Sears) was the 9-2 second choice from post seven. Longshot players could opt for Blood Line (Mark Macdonald) at 14-1, Classic Pro (Trevor Henry) at 22-1 and R J P (Yannick Gingras) from post eight at 19-1, with $100,000 DSBF final hero Bags To Riches (Tim Tetrick) at 25-1 from post seven.

When the gate folded in the Milstein Memorial, Classic Pro left alertly to gain command in a 27.1 opener then yielded to Fear The Dragon who strolled by the half in 56 flat. Downbytheseaside angled out first over from fourth and grinded his way alongside Fear The Dragon as they rolled by three-quarters in 1:22.4 and the two Brian Brown trainees battled through the turn and down the lane where Downbytheseaside prevailed over the odds-on choice by over a length in 1:49.3 despite racing first over into a 53.3 back half.

A sophomore son of Somebeachsomewhere, Downbytheseaside recorded his sixth win from 10 starts this year and banked nearly $700,000 this year and now owns 14 wins and $1.26 million banked from 23 lifetime tries. Fear The Dragon saw his three-race win streak come to an end but he still owns a 9-2-0 slate and nearly $1 million banked from 11 starts this year and boasts 14 wins and $1.2 million banked from 22 career tries. Maryland-bred, free-legged Classic Pro finished third in a good try for trainer Dr. Ian Moore.

One race earlier on the card, Dancin Yankee (Brian Sears) easily lived up to his role as the 1-5 favorite in the $50,000 Myron Charna Invitational when he gained command before a 26.3 opener, got a modest breather by the half in 55 flat, rolled by three-quarters in 1:22.3 and drew clear to a three-length score in 1:50.3. A nine-year-old Yankee Cruiser stallion trained by Josh Green, Dancin Yankee notched his second win in his last three starts, his third win in five outings and now owns a solid 5-3-2 slate and $81,000 and the victory pushed his career bankroll past $1.6 million.

In one of the early races on the undercard, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) delivered as the 7-5 second choice when the aged wonder led through modest fractions of 28. 56.4 and 1:24.3 then edged clear from 3-5 choice Lucky Lime to a two-length score in 1:52. A 13-year-old Dragon Again gelding trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again now owns a 4-2-1 slate and nearly $60,000 banked from 17 starts this year and has banked over $7.53 million in nearly 300 lifetime starts.

In a trio of $40,000 Ohio Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, Pistol Packin Mama (Trace Tetrick) lived up to her role as the 1-5 favorite in the opener to notch her fifth win in eight starts this year. In the second division, Zoe Ellase N (Ron Wrenn, Jr.) forged a 24-1 upset by outlasting the late bid of 2-5 choice Rosemary Rose (Mike Wilder) in 1:52.1 for her fourth win in 14 starts this year. Then one race later in the third split, Jayes A Lady (Gingras) brushed to command in a 26.2 opener, got a breather to the half in 55.3, shook off a foe by three-quarters in 1:23.3 and edged clear to a two-length score in 1:52 for trainer Nancy Johansson and owner Caviart Farms.

Several other quality older pacers were on display at Yonkers Raceway in New York and at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania as numerous horses are looking to earn an invite to the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in Delaware on Monday, September 18.

Although he is not likely to get an invite to the Quillen, Eighteen (Jason Bartlett) continued his winning ways when he gained command early, yielded to one rival then retook before the half in 57.1 and edged clear late from the pocket-sitting Sports Bettor (Jordan Stratton) to score in 1:52.4. A Maryland-bred nine-year-old Cam's Card Shark stallion trained by Richard Banca and co-owned by Banca and Kristen Stewart, Eighteen has won two of his last three outings and now owns a 6-2-1 slate and a solid 43-25-24 and banked $860,000 from 194 career outings.

Several races later in the $55,000 Open Handicap for older pacers, Somewhere In L A (Bartlett) benefited from an early speed duel and a wild break by early leader Luck Be Withyou, brushed to command down the backside and held safe the late bids of Polak A, Evenin Of Pleasure and Bit Of A Legend N for a length score in 1:52.4. A six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Banca, Somewhere In L A notched his 10th win from 25 starts this year and now owns a solid 30-18-12 slate and $1.3 million banked from 104 lifetime tries.

That same evening at Pocono Downs, First Class Horse (George Napolitano, Jr.) gained command before a modest 27.2 opener, got a breather to the half in 56 half then held safe the inside late bid of Limelight Beach (Matt Kakaley) to score by a head in 1:50. A five-year-old Western Hanover stallion trained by Tracy Brainard, First Class Horse notched his first win in seven starts this year and looks poised to make a steady climb through the conditions.

Several races later on the card in the first of two $70,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for three-year-old filly pacers, Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) settled well off the pace in a solid 26 opener, got a breather to the half in 55.2, brushed to command by three-quarters in 1:22.1 and held safe Awash (Scott Zeron) to prevail by nearly a length in 1:51. A sophomore daughter of Bettor's Delight trained by Noel Daley for owner-breeder Caviart Farms, Caviart Ally notched her third win in 10 starts this year and pushed her seasonal earnings to nearly $190,000.

Two races later on the Pocono Downs card in the second $70,000 PASS split for sophomore filly pacers, Agent Q (Zeron) lived up to her role as the 1-2 favorite when she tucked third early, brushed to command before the half in 55.3, raced unpressed down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:23.4 then edged clear from Bettors Up (Brett Miller) to score in 1:50.4. A Maryland-bred daughter of Western Terror trained by Aaron Lambert, Agent Q notched her fourth straight tally and sixth win from nine starts this year and banked over $415,000.

One night earlier many of the sport's top older pacers were on display in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park as Check Six continued his newfound winning ways when he rallied to prevail in 1:48.1. A four-year-old trained by Ron Burke, fresh off his score in the $250,000 TVG Free-For-All at the Meadowlands on the undercard of the Grade I, $1 million Hambletonian, Check Six notched his third win in 14 starts this year and edged fellow Burke trainee All Bets Off, defending champion of the inaugural $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway last fall.