Mystery Chase put a little mystery in his chase Tuesday at The Meadows when he nailed Blueridge Western at the wire to capture a division of the $90,400 Keystone Classic for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. The stake was contested over three divisions, with Lisfinny and Real Celebration taking the other splits.
Mystery Chase had been racing in tough company--his last three races were losses to Shadow Play, Somebeachsomewhere and Art Official--so he was plenty sharp for the Keystone Classic. David Miller moved him to Blueridge Western at the three-quarter pole, yet it wasn’t clear who would win the duel until Mystery Chase prevailed by a head in 1:50.3. Lookout Hanover was third.
“He’s been good from the start of the year, and he’s still holding real strong,” said Jim Campbell, who trains the homebred son of Real Artist-Search For Cam for Arlene and Jules Siegel. “He’s one of the nicest horses I’ve ever trained--not the top horse, but if I could train one like him every year, it would make my season.”
Campbell said Mystery Chase, who now has earned $389,371, will race next in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs.
Lisfinny made the front with a quarter-pole move for Dave Palone but was all out to fend off the late-charging Andy Roo, who finished a neck back. Dragoon K had late pace but couldn’t find room between horses and settled for third. The winning time was 1:52.
“He was gutsy, believe me,” Palone said. “He was giving me everything late. I don’t think the front end’s any good today, but it beats the alternative of being first over.”
Bob McIntosh trains Lisfinny, a son of The Panderosa-Lisaleen, for Robert McIntosh Stables, CSX Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings.
Real Celebration lost his backside cover when Goddess’s Justin spurted to the lead, but the gelded son of Real Artist-Aparte kept on grinding and scored in 1:52.4, three-quarters of a length better than Keystone Nautilus. Willy Mucha was third at 67-1. Real Celebration is catalogued for sale in Harrisburg.
“He’s a funny horse--he really doesn’t know how to race yet,” said trainer-driver Ray Paver, who owns Real Celebration with David Wills, James Hess and Douglas Gregory. “He doesn’t really want to go around the lead horse, but when he does, he takes off again. Today, he didn’t hesitate to go around.”
The win by Real Celebration was 2:00 mile number 2,453 at The Meadows in 2008, the most in any year in the track’s 45-year history. The previous mark was established in the year 2000. The track has produced 713 1:55 miles in 2008, also a record.
In the $25,000 Preferred Trot, Primo Spur made up five lengths late for trainer-driver Dick Stillings to score in 1:55. Dyno Trevor was a head back in second, with Macdeen Star third. Roy Davis owns Primo Spur, a 4-year-old gelded son of Pegsaus Spur-T Tar’s Shadowmio who pushed his career bankroll beyond $200,000. (The Meadows)