Facing Captaintreacherous a thrill for trainer
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When trainer Lyle Scurlock was thinking about this season’s schedule for 3-year-old pacer LB’s Alamericanjoy, he never imagined he would send the homebred gelding into a race against Captaintreacherous.
On Saturday night, he will do just that.
LB’s Alamericanjoy is among the seven horses competing in Saturday’s $50,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy Invitational for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. The race is part of a card that also includes the $230,000 Centaur Trotting Classic and two divisions of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers.
Captaintreacherous, who is the No. 2-ranked horse in North America in harness racing’s Top 10 poll, has won seven of eight races this year and earned $1.43 million. His victories include the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace and Max C. Hempt Memorial. Tony Alanga handles the training, Tim Tetrick the driving.
"No, I never thought something like this would happen,” said the Illinois-based Scurlock, who at the moment has a two-horse stable. "This is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream to go over there and face a horse like the Captain. I have no expectations; I just want to enjoy it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
LB’s Alamericanjoy was bred by Scurlock’s mom, Mary, and has won five of seven races this year and earned $15,600. The horse was named after Scurlock’s uncle, Lowell Burl Scurlock, who raised the horse.
Scurlock owns the pacer with his brother, Lance. His cousin, Matt Krueger, will drive the horse in Saturday’s race.
The 38-year-old Krueger just started driving professionally last year after leaving his job at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Kansas City. Krueger, who works for trainer Homer Hochstetler, has won 30 of 325 starts this year.
"From a driver’s standpoint, you look forward to facing the best every chance you get,” said Krueger, who worked with horses as a teenager, following his grandfather, John Finn, and father, Warren, into the sport. "It’s like a fighter getting a title shot; I get to face the champion.
"We might be racing for second place, but it’s just an honor to race against guys like Tim (Tetrick) and Yannick (Gingras) and the Captain. I’m pretty excited.”
Although a newcomer in the driving ranks, Krueger has already seen stakes action. He finished fourth in Wednesday’s American-National Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters with Hochstetler’s Don’t Miss A Tweet. He won the Tony Maurello Stakes consolation with Bruce Pacitti’s Sports Fanatic on Super Night at Balmoral.
"It’s been a crazy year,” Krueger said. "I’m enjoying it and having success.”
LB’s Alamericanjoy is coming off a five-length win in a condition race Sept. 8 at Balmoral Park. He won in a career-best 1:50.2, with his final quarter-mile in :26.2.
"The way he raced in his last start opened my eyes up,” the 35-year-old Scurlock said. "He took it to another level.
"I didn’t get him staked, so when I heard Hoosier was going to have a $50,000 invitational it got my interest. I figured I’d take a shot at it.”
Scurlock and his father, Gary, will bring the horse to Hoosier Park. Scurlock expects a number of family members to make the trip for the race.
"Hopefully, he’ll be competitive,” Scurlock said. "That would make it more interesting.
"I know there will be plenty of speed. The good thing is he’s versatile; he can race from the front or behind. He’s a very nice horse to be around and very athletic. That makes it fun.”