Unraced at two, Too Salty demonstrated Monday night at The Meadows that he may be a force in the 3-year-old colt trotting division, capturing a division of the $61,200 Keystone Classic a shade shy of Pine Chip's stakes record.
The stake for Pennsylvania-breds was contested over three divisions, with Forever Bachelor and Tis Himself taking the other splits.
“He was the nicest colt I had,” Miller said. “He's still a work in progress, but he has a lot of potential. He's staked heavily. He showed so much trot we thought we'd give him a chance if he got good.”
Too Salty marched through a late-closing series at Tioga Downs, taking the $22,500 final despite a break. In the Keystone Classic, Dave Palone sent Too Salty to the lead, which he maintained comfortably throughout. He prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths over Flying Scotsman, with Yankee Coburn finishing third. His time of 1:55.3 was a tick slower than the mark established by Pine Chip and John Campbell in 1993 and the fastest mile this year by a 3-year-old colt trotter on a five-eighths mile track.
Donald L. Bartling owns Too Salty, a $25,000 yearling acquisition who extended an unusual streak--seven career starts, seven different drivers.
Forever Bachelor is a son of Lindy Lane, out of the Super Bowl mare Meadowmiss Hanover. That makes him a full brother to the outstanding trotter Like A Prayer, but illness has prevented him from living up to his pedigree.
“After his second start this year, we found he had a blood disorder,” said Mike Lachance, who guided Forever Bachelor for trainer Pat Lachance and owners Humber Trail Stable, Scott Kimelman and Albert Hanna. “Last week when he didn't race well, we scoped him, and he was full of mucous. We took 10 days to clear him up.
“He has the ability--he's a beautiful horse. He's staked to everything, but he's not ready to tackle the tough ones yet. Down the road, maybe in the fall, he'll be OK.”
Lachance hustled Forever Bachelor into the pocket behind heavy favorite Wild Wind, who broke stride in the lane. Forever Bachelor probably didn't need the help, scoring in 1:56.3, 4 1/4 lengths better than Suited. The fast-closing Grant was third.
Tis Himself boasted five wins coming into the Keystone Classic, but his manners likely cost him even greater success.
“If he's racing a horse, he gets pretty grabby, but he gets lackadaisical when he's by himself,” said Charlie Norris, who trains and drives the son of SJ's Caviar. “He has so much ability and speed, but he needs to be under control.”
Outfitted with earplugs on Monday night, Tis Himself made a quarter-pole move to the lead, opening up daylight on the field and triumphing by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:56.2. Fraternity Party closed stoutly in his initial start of the year to finish second; in eight career outings, he's never been worse than that. Huckster was well back in third.
William and Maureen Kirwan bred and own Tis Himself. (The Meadows)