Melmerby Beach turned in a career-best performance of 1:50.1 to win the $50,800 final of the Summertime Series Monday night at Mohawk.
Carrying the same connections as his sire, the great Somebeachsomewhere, Melmerby Beach snagged his first trophy for the mantle by defeating six other rivals in the Summertime final.
Melmerby Beach was raced on the front end in leg one and suffered a disappointing fourth place finishing. The following week, driver Paul MacDonell elected to come from off the pace, leading to a hard closing second-place finish.
Monday night, MacDonell went back to the game plan from leg two and kept Melmerby Beach off the pace.
Leg two winner Capozzo sprinted out to the early lead and was confronted down the backstretch by leg one winner Silverhill Shadow who cleared to the front. Silverhill Shadow paced a third quarter of :27.2 to get the field down to the three-quarter pole in 1:22.3. Meanwhile, MacDonell had placed Melmerby Beach sixth early and was being towed around the final turn second-over.
In the stretch, Melmerby Beach exploded by the competition with a :26.4 last quarter to win by three lengths. Silverhill Shadow held on for second, while Nirvana Seelster finished in third.
Following the race, MacDonell noted the change of strategy has worked well for Melmerby Beach.
"Two weeks ago he raced on the front end and he didn't fire like he should have,” said MacDonell. "We just thought we would maybe regroup a little bit and take him back and let him pace for home and he's learned to like this Mohawk long stretch.”
Trained by Brent MacGrath, Melmerby Beach has tackled top level horses, having started in the Pepsi North America Cup elimination. The 3 year old has run into some issues that have held him back, but MacGrath thinks the horse is getting back on track.
"It didn't workout in the North America Cup and the colt's had some issues and we've just had to work around them and they tell you when they're ready,” said MacGrath. "You can do all you want, but you have to wait on them and that's what we've done…he was good tonight, he's still not perfect, but we are getting closer.”
The Summertime final victory was the third win in seven starts this season for Melmerby Beach and fourth win of his career. His career earnings now jump to over $73,000 for owners Schooner II Stable of Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
Next up for Melmerby Beach will be a few weeks off, but MacGrath has plans to challenge Grand Circuit company down the road.
"September he's in the Simcoe here and he's in most of the races in the fall, so hopefully we'll get a few races here over the next couple months,”
Melmerby Beach returned $4.80 to win.
The Summertime Series was for 3-year-old pacers, non-winners of $30,000 lifetime as of March 31, 2014. (WEG)