MacDonald to drive Lennon Blue Chip in OSS Gold final
May 21, 2008
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Mark MacDonald was in an enviable position this week as he chose between two talented mounts for Saturday’s $140,000(C) Gold final at Mohawk Racetrack. MacDonald captured the first Gold elimination last weekend with Lennon Blue Chip, and finished third in the other 3-year-old pacing colt split with a hard charging Lucky Man. MacDonald chose Lennon Blue Chip as his mount for this Saturday’s skirmish, but he is not ruling out the possibility of things swinging the other way down the road.
“Lucky Man is a really nice horse, but he’s really green. He didn’t do a lot of racing at two. He was immature and was making breaks, but he’s grown up nice,” explains MacDonald. “He’s not in top form yet, another couple of starts and he’ll really show what he’s made of. He’s a great big horse, a really good looking horse with a long hopple and a big gait.”
Tom Hill of Lancashire, G.B. owns Lucky Man, who made eight starts as a freshman, posting one win and one third for earnings of $13,257. In two starts this season the Camluck son has already surpassed his 2-year-old earnings, capturing his sophomore debut at Mohawk Racetrack on May 12 and finishing third in last weekend’s elimination.
Casie Coleman trains both Lucky Man and Lennon Blue Chip, who will line up alongside each other in Saturday’s lucrative Gold final. Lucky Man gets post two and Lennon Blue Chip will start from post three.
Lennon Blue Chip’s elimination victory was so impressive it made MacDonald’s decision fairly easy this week. The No Pan Intended colt romped to a 3 1/4-length score in 1:52.1, without facing a moment’s competition. When they turned for home more than four lengths ahead of the field, MacDonald took his foot off the accelerator, but Lennon Blue Chip still managed to pace home in :27.1.
“I really liked him,” says the reinsman. “He is the same size and build as Lucky Man, but he’s a lot more mature. He did a lot more racing at two and was competitive in some of those Golds.”
The only colt to defeat division champion Deuce Seelster in OSS action, Lennon Blue Chip tallied a record of three wins, two seconds and two thirds in 11 starts last season for earnings of $204,122. After a well deserved winter holiday, he made two starts this spring at the Meadowlands before shipping into Coleman’s barn, and MacDonald feels that early season conditioning stood the colt in good stead last weekend.
“He was just really comfortable the whole mile,” says MacDonald, who steers the colt for owner Rodney Mitchell Inc. of Dover, Del. “I didn’t really have to use him too hard.”
MacDonald does not expect things will be quite so easy for Lennon Blue Chip on Saturday. The other elimination winner, Keystone Horatio, and runner-up Deuce Seelster now have a start under their belt, and MacDonald expects both will have their game face on for the Final.
“I expect they’ll be a little better this week than last. They are two nice colts,” says MacDonald, of Lennon Blue Chip’s main rivals.
Deuce Seelster will line up alongside Lennon Blue Chip from post four, while Keystone Horatio gets post eight in Saturday’s eighth race. (OSS)