Somebeachsomewhere overcame heavy sheets of rain, losing a couple of bell boots, a sloppy track and a tough adversary in Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play to win the $650,000 Messenger Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway, hitting the wire first in 1:52.1.
"This is probably as good an effort as he's had, and that's saying something," said winning driver Paul MacDonell. "He's never had to race in conditions like this and he's never had to come first-over before, but he's done everything else, so there was no reason to think he couldn't handle it. I thought I was going by sooner, but Shadow Play refused to quit."
While scoring down before the Messenger, Somebeachsomewhere managed to kick off his Velcro-closing bell boots. MacDonell elected to go without them. Earlier in the evening MacDonell had warmed Beach up free-legged and the colt broke stride at about the three-quarter mark, but MacDonell later said that didn't worry him either.
When the race got underway MacDonell and Somebeachsomewhere left from the outside post six in the field and conceded to Shadow Play when the gate folded. When David Miller cleared to the front with Shadow Play at the :27.1 quarter, MacDonell dropped in third at the pylons, courtesy of the rail-leaving Legacy N Diamonds and George Brennan.
Just before Shadow Play broke the beam at the half in :56.1, MacDonell tipped Somebeachsomewhere to challenge. The Beach blew the turn a bit, pacing wide, but pulled up to Miller’s sulky wheel up the backstretch.
Shadow Play hit the three-quarter marker in :1:24.2, and when he hit the straightaway the race was on, despite the footing. Somebeachsomewhere dug in and Shadow Play responded with equal resolve, but the Beach was determined and won by a head over Shadow Play.
The victory was the 12th in 13 starts this season for Somebeachsomewhere, and the colt’s bankroll for the year now stands at $2,075,003, giving him career earnings of $2.8 million.
Brent MacGrath trains Somebeachsomewhere and owns him in partnership with the Schooner Stables. On Oct. 4, Hanover Shoe Farms announced that it was purchasing a 10 percent interest in the horse and planned to stand him at stud in 2009.