September 18, 2010
Favoured Lucky Chucky, with driver John Campbell, collared rival Muscle Massive turning for home and powered away to a two and one-quarter length score over Break The Bank K in the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic, Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack.
Trained by Chuck Sylvester, Lucky Chucky equalled the stakes and track record of 1:52.2, over a track listed as ‘good’ from intermittent evening rains, and in the process, avenged his bitter loss to Muscle Massive in the famed Hambletonian, August 7 at the Meadowlands. Majestic Son had taken a 1:52.2 mile when capturing the 2006 renewal.
It was the rematch harness fans had been waiting for, especially when Lucky Chucky came calling on Muscle Massive around the far turn, as the two superstar sophomore trotters appeared ready for a stretch battle.
But, it was a quick TKO, as Lucky Chucky, who had come first up after getting away in fifth position, blew by the pacesetter, then held off a determined Break The Bank K for the score. Muscle Massive retreated to third, five and one-half lengths behind the winner.
Lucky Chucky joined an illustrious roster of past Classic winners, including the last three – Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe and Donato Hanover, all of whom, unlike the 2010 winner, had also won the Hambletonian.
Surprisingly, it was only the second Canadian Trotting Classic win for Hall of Famer John Campbell, and 27 years apart to boot, since he steered Joie De Vie to victory in 1983. And it was the first win for Sylvester, who has carved out a career as one of the sport’s outstanding trotting trainers.
"Drawing inside (post one), I was pretty sure we were going to be first up when the draw came out," said Campbell. "As long as you don’t use him too hard in the first quarter, he gives you a great effort, even without the cover. He certainly proved that tonight.
"This is a great win for him. We’re not going to dwell on the negatives. It’s a million dollar race. There’s only a handful of those during the year and we’re fortunate enough to get one.
In taking the 35th edition of the Canadian Trotting Classic, Lucky Chucky may have vaulted to the front of the class. He’d come into the race off victories in the Colonial at Chester and the Zweig at Tioga Downs, but hadn’t raced since August 29.
Sylvester indicated that the winner has a busy schedule in the next month or so.
"He’ll get a week off, then prepare for the Breeders Crown (at Pocono Downs), then go to the Red Mile for the Kentucky Futurity. It’ll be tough from here on out."
Lucky Chucky paid $4.10, $2.60 and $2.30, combining with Break The Bank K ($3.90, $3) for an $18.10 (1-4) exactor. A 1-4-5 (Muscle Massive, $2.40 to show) triactor was worth $30.20, while a $1 Superfecta [1-4-5-2 (Temple of Doom) returned $48.95.
With the $500,000 pot, Lucky Chucky pushed his career bankroll to over $1.9 million.