Big Rigs had an easy time of it in the first of four divisions of the $354,000 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters Friday afternoon at The Red Mile, leading gate to wire to score in 1:56.1. Also scoring victories were Blue Porsche, Spring Goal and Neal, the latter of whom set a national season's mark for freshman colt trotters on a mile track.
Tim Tetrick was in the sulky behind Big Rigs for trainer Kelly O'Donnell and owners Miller's Stable Inc., DM Stables and Ed Mullinax. Tetrick left from post four with Big Rigs and the task to make the top was made a lot easier when Super Wind, directly to his left in post three for Andy Miller, went offstride. Big Rigs was able to quickly open up a three-length lead on his competition, which closed ranks at the :29.2 quarter.
Big Rigs continued to set moderate fractions, reaching the half in :59.4 and three quarters in 1:29.1 as Way Back When and David Miller sat second, followed by Jr Alber and Ron Pierce. Big Rigs pulled away from his peer down the stretch with a final quarter of :27 flat, with Jr Alber able to edge past Way Back When in deep stretch to finish second. World champion Live Jazz started in this split from post five for John Campbell but was never a factor after getting away fifth.
Big Rigs is a son of Andover Hall and a $70,000 yearling purchase from breeder Diamond Creek Farm by his connections. He won his Breeders Crown elimination Oct. 1 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Down sbut then made a break early the following week in the $600,000 final and was never in contention. The Bluegrass win was Big Rigs's fourth of the year in eight starts, increasing his earnings to more than $120,000 with the winner's share of the $88,500 purse.
The second $88,500 division went to Blue Porsche and driver Trevor Ritchie in a career- best 1:55.1, holding off the late-rallying Luckycharm Hanover and driver Campbell, with Opening Night and Brian Sears third.
A $22,000 yearling purchase by Robert Burgess and Karin Olsson Burgess, the wife of trainer Blair Burgess, Blue Porsche won for the third time in six starts. The son of Glidemaster's earlier wins included a division of the Champlain at Mohawk.
Tetrick was back in the winner's circle in the third $88,500 division with the Arlene and Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms-homebred Spring Goal. Tetrick tipped off cover turning for home and the son of Yankee Glide went on to the career-best 1:56 victory. High Pan Tolerance was second for Ray Schnittker, with Fort Valley As third for Andy Miller.
The win was the third of the year in six starts for Spring Goal, with the previous outings all coming on the smaller ovals at Freehold and Pocono Downs. Trainer Jim Campbell said in the winner's circle he wasn't sure how Spring Goal would perform stepping out of conditioned races into the Bluegrass on the clay oval, but he was obviously happy.
"We wanted to see how he'd do on a bigger track and he didn't disappoint," said Campbell. "With the wind I was hoping they'd come back to us and they did."
Campbell and the Siegel's were right back in the winner's circle in the fourth $88,500 split with Neal, who scored a national season's best 1:54.4 victory. Driven by Brian Sears, Neal was tipped out from fourth and moved first-over around the final turn, taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing clear to the victory. Mythical Hall finished second for Ron Pierce with Not Nice, who tracked the winner second-over, holding for third for Yannick Gingras.
A $150,000 yearling purchase by the Siegel's Fashion Farms from breeders Steve Jones and Neal Goldman, the trotter's namesake, Neal won for the fourth time in 10 starts, increasing his earnings to more than $255,000.
"He's had tough luck in some of the big races but he's a nice colt," said Sears. "He's a very easy-going colt and got over the track well."