Artspeak continued his undefeated freshman campaign as he swept home off cover to take the $667,000 Metro Pace in a career-best 1:50.2 for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna on an action-packed Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) fired off the gate from post eight with Lone Survivor (David Miller) also leaving to his outside and working to the top through a :26.3 first quarter with Lyons Levi Lewis (Sylvain Filion) settled away third. Go Daddy Go (John Campbell) committed first over from fourth just before the half with 1-9 favorite Artspeak securing a perfect second-over trip as he followed the live cover from mid-pack. Lone Survivor raced by the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.3 with his outside challengers closing in.
Go Daddy Go took over command into the stretch, but Artspeak swept by down the lane with a :26.2 final kicker to win by three and a half lengths. Ron Burke trainees Lyons Levi Lewis and Lyons Again finished second and third, respectively.
"To be second-over was a dream trip for that horse," said former Woodbine regular Zeron after the race. "He follows horses so well. I've always had to put him on the front just because he is 1-9, but today I was able to trip him out behind a really nice horse of John's and when I showed him some air down the lane he was game. He's a freak of nature."
The Western Ideal-The Art Museum colt is owned by breeders Brittany Farms and Marvin Katz along with partners Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners. Artspeak now boasts six wins in as many starts and $469,962 in purses.
"When we had Captaintreacherous and he started his career, we had such an amazing ride with that horse and to come back and have this colt right after that, it's amazing," said Alagna amidst the winner's circle celebrations. "It's very surreal."
"It never gets old," added Katz. "I said that to Tony out on the track here, when you can win these types of magnificent races with the challenges that are involved in this business...this is a thrill. This is an absolute thrill and to be enjoyed."
The win was Zeron's first in the Metro Pace and the 25-year-old reinsman acknowledged Alagna and Myron Bell for their support with his relocation to the U.S. last year.
"This is the whole purpose of it. I really stuck my neck out going down there all by myself, I worked as hard as I could this year," said Zeron. "Alagna and Myron, the two of them together told me they'd really help me out in the move and that gave me all the confidence to do it. This is the reason I did it, to go down there and get a horse like this (to drive), it's a once-in-a-lifetime (experience)."
"I talked to Scott last fall and I knew that he had talked about maybe making a change and coming down to the states and I told him if he wanted to come down and try it, I was willing to give him a shot," said Alagna. "He's made the commitment, and he's been to the farm training and baby racing before qualifiers and he deserves the win." (SC)