Father Patrick, dubbed early in the campaign by trainer Jimmy Takter as "possibly one of the greatest trotters of all time,” did nothing to diminish those expectations Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, winning his $25,000 elimination for next week's $500,000 Earl Beal Trot for three-year-old colts in 1:52.4.
The son of Cantab Hall, owned by the Father Patrick Stable of New Jersey, was reserved in third early by driver Yannick Gingras, who then moved him at the :27.4 quarter directly to the lead, reaching the half in "walkin' horse” time of :57. Gingras sharpened the speed one notch down the back to reach the three-quarter mark in 1:25.2, then downshifted again with the colt, coming home in :27.2 to complete a 1:52.4 package, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of pocketsitter Harper Blue Chip, who was followed under the line by Sumatra and Outburst.
In the first Beal elimination, the Andover Hall colt Nuncio ($2.60) followed his Takter stablemate's example by taking his fourth victory of an undefeated 2014 campaign, defeating pacesetting Datsyuk by a ½- length in 1:52.2. Datsyuk, in only his fifth lifetime start, fought hard early to get the lead and set fractions of :27.2, :56.4, and 1:25, with Nuncio and driver John Campbell advancing to be just outside the leader entering the final turn.
When asked he was confident or concerned around the final turn, Campbell said, ”Confident. He still felt very strong to me.”
Nuncio, who took a lifetime mark and set a national season's record, proved Campbell correct by trotting by Datsyuk past midstretch for Stall TZ Inc. of Florida. Don Dorado, who raced in the pocket after a break by early challenger Hill I Am, stayed plugged until very late in finishing third, with Well Built fourth and Amped Up Hanover the faster of the fifth-place finishers to earn a spot in next week's final. (PHHA/Mohegan Sun at Pocono)