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Hempt elim to Idol; Vintage Master tops St. Elmo

May 14, 2011

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At 26-1, Movie Idol made a late rally on the outside to win Saturday night’s $50,000 Max Hempt Memorial Elimination at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The race set the field of nine for the Hempt, Pocono’s traditional showcase for 3-year-old colts and geldings, which will be held on Saturday, May 21.

Leaving from post position seven in a field of 10, Movie Idol, driven by Corey Callahan for trainer Shaun Callahan, sat off the pace early as Dana’s Sharp Smart took the early lead. Callahan set the 3-year-old colt in motion on the backstretch behind cover, and he kicked to the outside in the stretch as the top two horses, Dana’s Sharp Smart and Custard The Dragon, both went offstride.

Movie Idol, sired by I am A Fool, avoided that trouble and outpaced Vegas Rusty to the line to win in 1:52.4, a new career-best time. Vegas Rusty settled for second while Smile A Little, who was interfered with before the start of the race and had all wagers on him refunded, still managed to get the show.

With nine spots open for the $250,000 final, only the last place finisher was eliminated, meaning that Dana’s Sharp Smart, who came into the race on a five-race winning streak, was knocked out of the final after being placed from ninth to 10th by the Pocono judges for causing interference following his break at the top of the stretch.

In addition to the top three, the others reaching the final include Smile A Little, Prana, Recless Ric, Pan From Nantucket, Sharp West Hanover and Custard The Dragon, who finished in that order.

In other action on Saturday night, Dave Palone drove Vintage Master to a sizzling win in the $60,000 Open pace. The 5-year-old stallion, making his second start of the year, corralled the pacesetting St Elmo Hero with a first-over move in the stretch to win by 1-½ lengths, in 1:49, the fastest time at the Pocono meet, so far. Legal Litigator picked up the show. (Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs)

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