Recently-purchased Dovuto Hanover scored a national season's best 1:51.1 victory in the first of five divisions of the $381,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers Saturday night at The Red Mile, and the top-ranked Captaintreacherous posted an impressive victory in the fourth division, but it was the disqualification of third-split winner Odds On Equuleus that sparked a tremendous amount of conversation and debate.
In the third $85,800 division, John Campbell moved the heavily-favored Odds On Equuleus to the lead shortly past the opening quarter of :29 and then led through a :56 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters before needing a final quarter of :26.3 to fend off the Yannick Gingras-driven Rockin Amadeus. The stewards then flashed the "inquiry" sign just a few moments later and after a 15-minute delay they determined that Campbell took his charge up abruptly in the final turn and caused interference to the trailing horses.
With Odds On Equuleus bumped from first to last, that brought Rockin Amadeus to the winner's circle. Johny Rock and Andy Miller were moved from third to second, with Real Rocker and Brian Sears landing in third. Of a total show pool of $11,950, there was $10,722 wagered on the dq'd Odds On Equuleus.
Jimmy Takter trains Rockin Amadeus for breeder-owner Lothlorien. The win was his second in seven starts, increasing his earnings to more than $144,000.
In the fourth $86,800 division, Tim Tetrick settled Captaintreacherous in early as Hail The Taxi and My One Tru Desire traded the lead through a :27.4 quarter and :56.4 half. Sitting fifth with Captaintreacherous, Tetrick moved his charge to the outside at that point and grinded his way up first-over as David Miller and My One Tru Desire opened up a couple-lengths lead at the 1:24.2 three-quarters.
Tetrick had Captaintreacherous rolling in the stretch and he reached the wire in 1:51.3, with Good Day Mate and Dave Palone closing for second. Campbell had Hail The Taxi moving up the pylons to get third-place honors.
A $250,000 yearling purchase, Captaintreacherous has been nearly perfect in his seven-start career, posting six wins and one second. Included among his wins are a Meadowlands track-record 1:49.3 effort in the Woodrow Wilson and a 1:49.2 score in the Metro final.
Tony Alagna trains Captaintreacherous for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and breeder White Birch Farm. The lion's share of the Bluegrass purse increased the son of Somebeachsomewhere's earnings to more than $790,000. Brittany racing manager Myron Bell and Alagna both said afterward that an International Stallion Stakes start next weekend at The Red Mile is still up in the air and a decision won't come until early next week.
As for Dovuto Hanover, who was purchased by Martin Scharf earlier this week, his winning time of 1:51.1 in the opening $85,800 split set a national season's mark for freshman gelding pacers. Ron Pierce cleared to the lead with the son of Dragon Again at the three-eighths and led the rest of the way to defeat Dedi's Dragon (Gingras) and Emeritus Maximus (Miller).
Ryan Maxwell now trains Dovuto Hanover, who notched his fourth win in nine starts to increase his earnings to more than $193,000.
Pierce also won the second $85,800 division with Fool Me Once, moving from second to first heading down the backstretch. Fool Me Once crossed the wire in 1:51.3 with Sir Richard Z Tam (Mike Lachance) and Clint Westwood (David Miller) finishing second and third, respectively.
Trained by Mark Austin, who shares ownership of the Art Major colt with Dan Smith, Fool Me Once won for the third time in six starts to boost his earnings to more than $83,000.
The "inquiry" sign also flashed in the fifth $86,800 division, due to the mid-point break of Urbanite Hanover, who had the lead at the :56 clocking before going offstride. Modern Cruiser and Yannick Gingras inherited the lead and turning for home past a 1:23.4 three-quarters he had opened up about a four-length lead on the field.
Campbell had Twilight Bonfire in full stride down the stretch and the son of The Panderosa was able to move past Modern Cruiser in deep stretch for the 1:52.1 victory. Storm The Beach and Tim Tetrick finished third. The break by Urbanite Hanover was a result of broken hobble or hobble hanger, according to presiding judge Rich Williams.
Twilight Bonfire, fresh off a maiden-breaking win in the Standardbred on Jug day in Delaware, Ohio, is a homebred of Bob Key. His second career victory brings his earnings to more than $103,000.