Jeff Smith liked 2-year-old female pacer Presto Blue Chip as she trained down during the winter and the filly’s first trip around the track in race conditions had Smith smiling as well.
Presto Blue Chip, a full sister to stakes-winner Missile J purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, won her first qualifying try of the season in 1:55.4 Monday morning at Gaitway Farm. Brett Miller drove Presto Blue Chip for Smith and owners Howard Ouriel and Michael Ouriel.
"I was very impressed," Smith said. "She showed the class I think she’s got. She trained down like that; I think she’s a real horse. You never know yet. But nothing bothers her. Everything that she’s done has been professional. She’s well-bred and very smart."
Presto Blue Chip is a daughter of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Cantor’s Daughter, who was a Kentucky Sire Stakes champion. In addition to Missile J, Presto Blue Chip is a full sister to stakes-winner Brownsville Bomber and her second dam, stakes-winner Swifty But Nifty, is the mother of millionaire Cam Swifty and multiple-stakes-winner Lonesome Day.
"The owners are enthusiasts," Smith said. "They love the game. It would be nice to have a nice horse for them."
Gaitway hosted 10 qualifiers for 2-year-olds Monday. Gaitway-based trainer Ron Burke won five of the events, including the fastest trot with colt Quality Kemp (1:56) and pace with colt Dorsoduro Hanover (1:55.1) on a steamy morning that saw temperatures near 85 degrees at the 10 a.m. start of the card.
"I was very happy," said Burke, who sent out 19 freshmen at the qualifiers. "I thought a couple of them separated themselves from the others. But overall, I was thrilled with the whole group."
Dorsoduro Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss) finished second in a qualifier last week, when he was timed in 1:55.2. He is a half-brother to stakes-winners Doo Wop Hanover and Knock Three Times. He was purchased for $100,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Silva Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Wingfield Five.
Quality Kemp (Muscle Hill-Impressive Kemp) also was out for his second qualifying effort. He finished fourth last week at Gaitway, timed in 2:00.2. He was purchased for $175,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi, and Michelle Yanek.
The colt’s dam, Impressive Kemp, was a multiple-stakes-winner (including a Breeders Crown) out of Emilie Cas El, a Horse of the Year Award winner in Canada and the mother of Hambletonian champion Trixton as well as world champion Highscore Kemp. The family also includes trotting stars Andover Hall, Angus Hall and Conway Hall.
Other 2-year-old winners for Burke were colt pacer Tixnstones, colt trotter U Need Stones, and filly pacer Sansovina Hanover.
U Need Stones (Wishing Stone-Sequin Hanover) won last week in 1:59 and triumphed today in 1:59.2. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, who all bred the colt.
Tixnstones (Betterthancheddar-Ticket To Rock) won his qualifier in 1:56.4 for owners Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Phil Collura, and Weaver Bruscemi. Out of a dam who earned $1.11 million on the racetrack, Tixnstones was a $37,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale.
Sansovina Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Shacked Up) was making her second start in a qualifier and won in 2:00 after finishing second, timed in 1:58.1, last week. Sansovina Hanover paced her final quarter in :26.4 on Monday following a half in 1:03. She paced out an additional quarter mile in :27, Burke said.
"Yannick knew that wasn’t enough work for her," Burke said, referring to driver Yannick Gingras, who also won with U Need Stones. "That’s what I like to see. When they’ve got another quarter in :27 left in them at the end of the mile, you know they’re a decent horse."
Sansovina Hanover, out of a $1.39-million-earning mare, was purchased for $70,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She is owned by Burke Racing, Silva Purnel & Libby, Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi.
Matt Kakaley drove Quality Kemp, Dorsoduro Hanover, and Tixnstones for Burke.
Trainer Julie Miller won two qualifiers with 2-year-olds, both with Andy Miller in the sulky. Endless Flirt, a filly trotter, won in 1:59.1 and Ideal Deal, a colt pacer, won in 1:58.4.
Endless Flirt (Andover Hall-Flirtin Victory) is a half-sister to Breeders Crown champions Flirtin Miss and Pick Me Up as well as three-quarter sister to stakes-winner Flirtin Man. She is owned by breeder Al Libfeld.
Ideal Deal (American Ideal-Flirtwithedealer) won in 1:58.4. He was purchased for $31,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Nick Surick Stable, Andy Miller Stable, and Harvey Eisman.
Filly pacer Lady Day (Always A Virgin-Island Blush) won in 1:59.3 for trainer Joe Holloway and driver Andy Miller. She was third last week, timed in 1:59.2. Purchased for $40,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, her family includes two-time Dan Patch Award winner My Little Dragon. She is owned by Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables, and Ted Gewertz.
Bob Key homebred filly trotter Baby Wants (Conway Hall-Baby American) won in 1:59.4 for trainer Andrew Harris, also with Miller in the bike.
The final Monday of qualifiers at Gaitway is June 19.--By Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications