Campbellville, September 2 – Stay Hungry, with Doug McNair at the controls for trainer Tony Alagna, maintained his healthy appetite for winning with a romping score in Saturday’s first $97,880 Champlain Stakes division for freshman pacers, at Mohawk.
The Somebeachsomewhere-My Little Dragon colt, a $150,000 Lexington Select purchase for owner Brad Grant, was an impressive winner on debut last week and passed a serious class test on Saturday with a first-up score in 1:52.1.
Evening Play made the early pace through splits of :13.1 and :27.3 with Trump That, Odds On Lauderdale and Stay Hungry chasing. Odds On Lauderdale (Scott Zeron) swept to the front to mark the half in :56.3 as Stay Hungry waited patiently for McNair to push the button on the first-up trip.
Stay Hungry, once asked, paced menacingly to the wire with Im A Big Deal and Phil The Thrill followed his cover, while Odds On Lauderdale faded after setting the pace. McNair and Stay Hungry gobbled up ground with ease down the lane and were never threatened for an impressive first stakes score. Trump That edged Torrin Hanover for place.
Stay Hungry, the third foal of three-time Breeders Crown winner My Little Dragon, has lived up to all expectations thus far including winning both qualifying efforts.
"They’ve been high on this horse all winter long," said McNair. "I trained him a few times before I qualified him and he showed tonight that he’s a pretty serious horse."
Could a shot at the Metro Pace be next for Stay Hungry?
"I hope so. He beat some pretty nice colts tonight so he’ll move forward," said McNair.
Stay Hungry paid $3.80 to win.
Dragon Time was full of pace down the lane drawing clear to a comfortable score in the second division of the $96,880 Champlain.
The Menary stable student followed Hudson Phil through comfortable splits of :13.4 and :28.2 from a patient steer by Yannick Gingras. Simple Kinda Man (Trevor Henry) made a first-up move with Courtly Choice and Babes Dig Me following his cover, but a determined Dragon Time was game down the lane finding his best pace late to easily overtake Hudson Phil for the win.
The victory, which came just two races after Menary won the Canadian Pacing Derby with Sintra, didn’t come as a surprise to Menary.
"I knew from the get go he was going to improve. He’s a Bettors Delight out of a Dragon Again mare. He has a lot of pedigree but sometimes that breed takes a little longer to come," said Menary.
Dragon Time finished fourth last time out in the Nassagaweya after holding the lead briefly at the top of the lane.
"Last week, first up was not his ideal trip and he raced really tough," said Menary. "This week he had some cover and he dug all the way to the wire. Yannick gave him a really good trip."
Dragon Time, who stopped the clock in 1:52, paid $9.40 to win.