Guccio, with trainer Jimmy Takter in the sulky, won the first of three divisions of the $227,000 Bluegrass for 3-year-old colt trotters on a sunny Sunday afternoon at The Red Mile. Money On My Mind got up in the final stride to edge Little Brown Fox to capture the second split.
In the first $75,000 Bluegrass split, Takter left from one and settled in third as the the Trond Smedshammer-driven Solvato took the early lead. Takter tipped to the outside at the :28 quarter and took over the lead at the :56.1 half. Guccio led through the 1:26 three-quarters before closing out the mile with a final quarter of :26.1 to win in a career-best 1:52.1. Solvato chased across the wire in second, with Modern Family third for Mike Lachance.
The runner-up in the $1.5 million Hambletonian, Guccio has been wearing trotting hobbles the past three starts, beginning in the Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations when he finished third. He also finished a close third in the $1 million final.
"He really doesn't need them, but it's so tough when you end up seventh or eighth every time at the half," Takter explained afterward of the equipment change. "With the hobbles I can use him better out of the gate."
Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Falkbolagen Ab shares ownership of Guccio, a son of Yankee Glide. This was just his second win of the year in a dozen starts, increasing his earnings to seasonal earnings to more than $650,000.
There was a mishap past the wire as the sulky being used by Smedshammer broke in two. Smedshammer said the bike suddenly snapped, but he hurt his back. As a result, Smedshammer took himself off his two later drives on the card.
Money On My Mind parlayed a two-hole trip for Andy Miller to a nose victory over Little Brown Fox in the second $76,000 division. The Yannick-Gingras-driven Little Brown Fox took the lead from post seven at the :27.1 quarter from Money On My Mind and then set fractions of :55.4 and 1:24.3. It took the entire stretch for Money On My Mind to catch Little Brown Fox but he was able to gain the advantage at the wire in 1:52.2.
"He was great today; he showed up," said Miller. "He's been getting better and better; it's been an up-and-down year for him."
Miller's wife, Julie, trains the Cantab Hall gelding for owner Black Horse Racing. The win was his third of the year and first since capturing the Colonial consolation Aug. 19 at Harrah's Philadelphia. The time was a career mark while bringing his career earnings to just over a half-million dollars.
The third $76,000 division went to Appomattox, who was rallied to the come-from-behind 1:52.2 by driver Scott Zeron. Finishing second was the Miller-driven Another Amaretto, with recent Kentucky Sires Stakes champion third for Tyler Smith.
Trained by Frank Antonacci, Appomattox was winless in nine starts last year and had just one win in 10 attempts this year heading into the Bluegrass, that coming on June 1 at the Meadowlands. His winning time of 1:52.2 was nearly four full seconds faster than his previous victory.
A son of Yankee Glide, Appomattox is out of the Garland Lobell mare Courtney Hall, who is a sister to standout trotters Cameron Hall, Canland Hall and Hartmann. Courtney Hall won a division of the Bluegrass at The Red Mile in 2005.