The Captain still controls the ship. Top-ranked Captaintreacherous (pictured) captured the first of two divisions of the $192,000 Bluegrass for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday night at The Red Mile in 1:47.1, the fastest mile ever at night over the historic clay oval and the second fastest race mile ever, behind only Somebeachsomewhere's 1:46.4 efffort in 2008. Sunshine Beach, the only horse to beat Captaintreacherous this year, posted a 1:48.2 victory in the second division.
Driven by Tim Tetrick, Captaintreacherous left from post five in the opening $95,500 division and settled in second behind the David Miller-driven Beach Memories, who reached the quarter marker in :26.4. Halfway down the backstretch, Tetrick tipped Captaintreacherous to the outside and moved easily to the front, taking the seven-horse field to the half in :52.4. Unable to completely shake the competition, Captaintreacherous reached the three-quarters in 1:20.2, and then needed all of a final quarter of :26.4 to hold off a determined Beach Memories by two lengths. Emeritus Maximus finished third, giving trainer Tony Alagna a one-three finish in the first $95,500 split.
"Timmy asked me before the race if we had a plan, and I said the plan was to win," Alagna told The Horseman a few minutes after the career-best performance for the 2012 Pacer of the Year. "If it sets up that he gets a mark, fine, but if it doesn't, that's fine too. That's the kind of mark the horse deserves and I'm sure he'll get a better one at some point, especially racing him at four.
"I'm so happy with the way he did it tonight. He is great condition and it sets up good for the rest of the year. He's not a 'win-by-open-lengths horse,' and he won by open lengths tonight."
Alagna trains the son of Somebeachsomewhere for Captaintreacherous Racing, and many of the long list of owners were in The Red Mile winner's circle celebrating the colt's ninth win in 10 starts that brought his 2013 earnings to more than $1.5 million. Overall, Captaintreacherous has 17 wins in 20 starts with earnings of more than $2.41 million.
In the second $96,500 Bluegrass division, Sunshine Beach was sent to the front from post 7 by driver John Campbell and remained in control through fractions of :27.4, :55 and 1:22.2. Resistance Futile, who tracked the winner from second the mile, made a game late-stretch rally for driver Corey Callahan, but the bid fell a neck short. Wake Up Peter and Ron Pierce third finished third, with Odds On Equuleus, who made a futile first-over bid in the final turn for driver Tetrick, fourth.
Sunshine Beach's win was his sixth of the year in 13 starts and first in three starts since toppling Captaintreacherous by a nose in the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine on Aug. 17 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Just as the connections of Captaintreacherous decided to skip the multi-heat Little Brown Jug on Sept. 19 at Delaware, Ohio, Sunshine Beach also did not make the trip.
Mark Steacy trains the winning son of Somebeachsomewhere for owners Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand. Sunshine Beach's seasonal earnings now stand at more than $512,000.