Owner Ken Jacobs has long believed Heston Blue Chip is the best 3-year-old male pacer in the nation. He hopes that by winning the upcoming Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, Heston Blue Chip will convince a lot of other people as well.
Heston Blue Chip, trained by Linda Toscano and driven by Tim Tetrick, is coming off a win in Sunday's $270,000 Progress Pace at Dover Downs in a stakes-record 1:49. This weekend, he faces six foes in one of two Matron Stakes eliminations, from which the top four finishers advance to the Dec. 2 final.
Prior to winning the Progress Pace, Heston Blue Chip won the Progress Pace preview, the $555,000 Breeders Crown, and his Breeders Crown elimination. For the year, the colt has won 13 of 16 races and earned $934,316.
"We're trying to give him a chance to be the 3-year-old of the year,” Jacobs said. "He's the best 3-year-old in the country. I told everybody that and they didn't believe me. I think he's proven himself and he deserves a shot at that title. I don't know that we'll get it, but that's beside the point.”
Heston Blue Chip ranks fifth in earnings for all 3-year-old male pacers in North America. He finished fifth in the Cane Pace and third in the New York Sire Stakes championship in his two starts prior to adding Lasix and beginning his current four-race win streak.
In addition to winning the Progress Pace and Breeders Crown, Heston Blue Chip (American Ideal-Shot Togo Bluechip) won the $270,400 Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired horses.
The Breeders Crown triumph was Jacobs' first in the championship series. He was second with 3-year-old filly pacer Lizbet Kash in 1996, second with 2-year-old colt pacer Kenneth J in 2006 and third with Kenneth J in 2008.
"You can't measure that thrill; that was just gigantic,” Jacobs said. "I've been second, I've been third, but I'd never had a win, so it was something very special. It validated that he's a real good horse. I was happy for the horse to know he validated himself in that race. It's nice to have one that good.”
Jacobs said Heston Blue Chip will return to the races next season as a 4-year-old. For now, though, he is focused on the Matron Stakes.
"If we win these next two (races), we'll establish ourselves as a contender for the top horse,” Jacobs said. "Even if we don't win these next two, we've had a hell of a year.”
Heston Blue Chip will start from post six in his Matron Stakes elim, which also includes Bolt The Duer, who won the Messenger and Adios stakes, and Pet Rock, who won the Windy City and Art Rooney Pace. Rounding out the field are Easy Again, Mel Mara, Hillbilly Hanover and Escape The News.
The other Matron elim features North America Cup winner Thinking Out Loud, who will start from post one for driver John Campbell and trainer Bob McIntosh. The remainder of the field is McErlean, Bettor's Edge, I'm The Pied Piper, Shady Breeze and Major Bombay. (Harness Racing Communications)