September 3, 2010
A trio of $103,673 Champlain Stakes took place tonight at Mohawk Racetrack for two-year-old trotting colts. Many of the colts who participated in tonight’s event will be back at Mohawk Racetrack next Saturday night in the William Wellwood Memorial Trot eliminations.
Big Rigs captured the first division for Hall of Fame driver, John Campbell. Sent off as the 3-1 second choice, Campbell and Big Rigs left alertly from post six and followed heavily favoured Leader Of The Gang and driver Ron Pierce before the opening panel of :28.4.
Driver Paul MacDonell and Unabating also left alertly and challenged Leader Of The Gang for the lead going towards the half but could not clear was left on the outside.
Pierce and Leader of The Gang took his rivals past the half in :58.2 and three quarters in 1:27.4.
As the field marched for home, driver John Campbell capitalized on a perfect trip and was able to upset the heavily favoured Leader Of The Gang in the final strides with Sim Brown and driver Randy Waples completing the triactor in 1:56.4.
Kelly O’Donnell trains the son of Andover Hall – Filly At Bigs, who were both Champlain Stakes division winners. Big Rigs now has freshman earnings of $70,086 for owners Millers Stable, Ed Mullinax and DM Stables.
In the second split, it was Pastor Stephen scoring decisively for driver Yannick Gingras in 1:57.4. The son of Cantab Hall – Gala Dream was working out a perfect second-over trip heading into the final turn but lost his cover when Whiskey Tax dropped in behind pacesetting Celebrity Bombay.
That simply allowed Pastor Stephen to move up unobstructed and the strapping youngster responding by hitting another gear in the final quarter. He drew off on the field in the stretch to win easily with Whiskey Tax coming back on to finish second over VC Chocoholic who landed the show spot.
"This horse is just getting better and better and he’s starting to realize he’s a good horse," said winning trainer Jimmy Takter. "I wasn’t concerned when he lost his cover tonight. He’s a big, strong colt who doesn’t mind first over. He likes to hunt other horses."
Pastor Stephen returned just $2.70 as the overwhelming favourite in the wagering. The victory was the fourth in five starts with his only loss coming on a costly disqualification after capturing the $500,000 Peter Haughton Memorial Final at The Meadowlands on August 7.
The colt’s bankroll now stands at just over $100,000 for owners Christina Takter of New Jersey, John Fielding of Ontario and Brittany Farms of Kentucky.
A major upset took place in the final division as the heavily favoured and undefeated Talespinner made a costly break as the gates unfolded which made the event a wide open affair.
Imperial Count and driver Steve Condren left from post nine and crossed over to take command before the opening quarter of :28.4 ahead of Blue Porsche and driver Trevor Ritchie.
As the field marched towards the half, Ritchie and the son of Glidemaster then took command of his rivals past the half in :58.2. Jody Jamieson and Master Builder tried to clear to the lead before the three-quarters but were unable to do so.
As the field turned for home Master Builder faded in the lane while Blue Porsche opened up on his rivals to win by over eight-lengths to win in 1:56.2, which is a new lifetime best.
"I wasn’t aware that Talespinner made a break because my horse actually put in a step so I was more worried about him," winning driver Trevor Ritchie commented.
"Blair mentioned to me in the paddock that he really liked this colt, so I decided to move him to the front. I used my whip and tickled his tail and he just went into another gear. It was like driving a sports car," Ritchie commented.
Sent off at odds of 40-1, Blue Porsche now has freshman earnings of $54,936 in four tries for trainer Blair Burgess for his father Robert and his wife Karin.