Perfect Sting, Southwind Gendry win Crown elims
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The draw for posts sets the final up as follows: 1--JK Going West, 2-Perfect Sting, 3-Southwind Gendry, 4-Always A Miki, 5-Bayfield Beach, 6-Summa Cum Laude, 7-Abuckabett Hanover, 8-Caviart Lotus, 9-Captains Place, 10-Litrl Lad Hanover.Perfect Sting, the royally-bred son of champions Always B Miki and Shebestingin, scored effortlessly in 1:50.4, leaving pocket-sitting rival Summa Cum Laude four lengths behind at the wire.
Driver David Miller left for early placement, allowing Bayfield Beach to claim the early lead with Summa Cum Laude and Yannick Gingras getting parked past the :26.3 opening quarter to take control. At that point, Miller gunned Perfect Sting to the front and cleared before reaching the half mile in :55.1.
The Joe Holloway trainee was in relaxation mode the third quarter, leading the field through a pedestrian :29.2 fraction. While, some 13 days earlier, rival Summa Cum Laude nearly defeated Perfect Sting at Lexington while on the lead, that foe proved powerless to keep contact with Perfect Sting — who effortlessly expanded his lead to 3-3/4 lengths with a :26.1 final quarter over a rain-soaked surface rated sloppy.
The biggest battle was for the place spot, as Always A Miki cleared road trouble in mid-stretch and just missed catching Summa Cum Laude for second. Abuckabett Hanover and driver Andy McCarthy made a furious rally and was lapped on that pair, but settled for fourth. Early leader Bayfield Beach claimed the final qualifying berth.
Owned and bred by Brittany Farms (Geoge Segal) and Val D’Or Farms (Martin Granoff), Perfect Sting has won all nine of his career starts.
Southwind Gendry continued his successful stakes winning streak in capturing the first $25,000 elimination. Yannick Gingras guided the gelding from the first crop of Always B Miki to an impressive 1:51 victory.
Indiana Sires Stakes champion J K Going West and driver LeWayne Miller pushed the early tempo, clearing the lead ahead of Captains Place in a :27 first quarter while Gingras got away in third position with the 2-5 favorite Southwind Gendry. Coming off the bend, Southwind Gendry made a methodical move up the backstretch to gain control while hardly stressed through a :56.4 first half.
Gingras didn’t allow an outer flow to develop as he picked up the pace with Southwind Gendry, making others work through three quarters in 1:25.1. It was essentially a one-horse race from there, as the Ron Burke trainee hit high gear and powered through a wind-aided :25.4 final quarter to complete the mile in 1:51.
Caviart Lotus and driver Tim Tetrick rallied late for the place spot, three lengths back, with early leader J K Going West along for third. Literl Lad Hanover and Captains Place completed the top five to qualify for the final.
It was the ninth victory in 11 starts this year — and the seventh in a row — for Southwind Gendry. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, Knox Services, and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Southwind Gendry was bred by Southwind Farms.
“He’s got a high gear,” said Gingras in the winner’s circle. “I’m really looking forward to next week.”--By Jay Bergman for Breeders Crown