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Cantab Hall by dq

September 24, 2003

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The third division of the $341,600 Bluegrass for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters at The Red Mile Thursday (Sept. 25) was expected to be a heavyweight showdown between Tom Ridge and Cantab Hall, but no one could predict it would be a knockout punch in the stretch that would decide the outcome.

Peter Haughton Memorial winner Tom Ridge and driver Ron Pierce controlled the tempo and still had the lead midway down the stretch. Mike Lachance had tipped the undefeated Cantab Hall heading toward the final turn, and had ranged up alongside the leader in the lane. But halfway down the stretch Tom Ridge suddenly veered a step right and bumped Cantab Hall, who had appeared to be going by the tempo setter.

Cantab Hall, owned by Brittany Farms, Lindy Racing Stable and Sampson Street Stables, kept his composure and came back late but just missed catching Tom Ridge at the wire in 1:56.2. However, a judges' inquiry resulted in the reversal of order for the top two finishers.

"As we were turning for home (Tom Ridge) grabbed the left line, took a few side steps, and unfortunately Mike's horse (Cantab Hall) on the outside," explained Pierce afterward.

Con Man, at odds of 23-1, surprised the field in the first Bluegrass division.

With John "Sonny" Patterson Jr. in the sulky, Con Man led a cavalry charge down the stretch to reach the wire first in 1:59.3. Lantern's Law (David Miller) just missed catching the winner at the wire and had to settle for second, with Spring Steel (Homer Hochstetler) third.

Trainer Bob Stewart and his wife, Lynda, own the winning son of Conway Hall, who scored his second victory in four career attempts.

The second Bluegrass split went to American Mike and driver David Miller. Miller swept to the lead with Bob Key's homebred son of American Winner at the half and then held off the late bid of Classic Hogan (Ron Pierce) to win in 1:57.3. Favored Uncle Vernon's (John Baggitt Jr) three-race win streak came to a half with his third-place finish.

Sand Vic closed out Thursday's Bluegrass action with a 1:57.3 career-best victory. With Don Irvine Jr. driving, Sand Vic outgamed a late-closing Adams Hall (Ron Pierce) and Windsong's Legacy (Jay Picciano), who took the lead down the backstretch but couldn't hold off the top two trotters in deep stretch.
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