Trainer Tony Alagna told harnessracing.com Friday morning that Odds On Equuleus, who has been in his barn just a couple of weeks, will be entered in the Sept. 19 Little Brown Jug at Delaware, Ohio. Alagna said the decision was made after Odds On Equuleus posted a 1:50.1 victory—with the trainer driving—in a qualifier on Thursday at The Red Mile.
Odds On Equuleus will give Alagna three Jug starters, joining Wake Up Peter and Emeritus Maximus. The connections of the Alagna-trained Captaintreacherous announced earlier that the top-ranked colt would not start in the multiple-heat Jug and instead will race on Sept. 20 in a $50,000 Invitational Pace for 3 year olds at Hoosier Park.
"Odds On Equuleus is going to the Jug,” said Alagna. "I was happy with the way he qualified. I think it warranted taking him to the Jug the way he qualified.”
Odds On Equuleus is owned by Dana Parham and trainer Robin Schadt's Odds On Racing, and when the calendar had turned to September and there was nary a win on his card, Schadt sent the horse to Alagna, who has some horses at The Red Mile. While Odds On Equuleus has been battling sickness while with Schadt, Alagna said the son of Art Major appears healthy.
"He scoped well and his throat was clear yesterday after the qualifier,” he said. "Everything checked out good; his blood work was good. All systems pointed to giving him the shot. I talked to both Robin and Dana and my recommendation was to take the horse to the Jug, and we were all in agreement to give it a shot.”
Odds On Equuleus is winless in eight starts this year, and he enters the Jug not having made a pari-mutuel start since finishing ninth in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine Aug. 17 at Pocono Downs. Despite not having a victory in 2013, Odds On Equuleus has earned $205,267, his biggest payday coming when he earned $158,937 via his second-place finish in the $635,750 Meadowlands Pace
Wake Up Peter's last pari-mutuel start came Sept. 2 in the $360,211 Cane Pace where he finished third to stablemate Captaintreacherous. Wake Up Peter started in the same Thursday qualifier as Odds On Equuleus. Driver Mike Lachance sat second through three quarters when the pacer suddenly went offstride.
"If it was any other horse I'd be concerned, but it was just Peter being Peter,” said Alagna.
Wake Up Peter has earned $242,450 this year, with his biggest paycheck of $117,600 coming when he finished third in the $980,000 North America Cup.
As for Emeritus Maximus, he has won five of 14 starts this year, but he will enter the Jug without a victory in his last seven attempts. In his most recent attempt in a Simcoe division Sept. 7 at Mohawk, Emeritus Maximus finished fifth while never finding racing room in the stretch.
"He was tremendous out of the eight hole at Yonkers (a third-place finish on Aug. 27), and then he was locked in with nowhere to go in the Simcoe,” said Alagna. "The horse looks like he's sitting on a nice race.”