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Shark Gesture impressive

September 25, 2006

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The John Simpson, Sr. Memorial stakes for sophomore colts on both the pace and trot were contested Sunday night at The Red Mile. The conditions were cool and dry, a departure from the deluge of the past few days and the racetrack came up \"fast.\"

The first $36,250 pacing division went to favored Shark Gesture, driven tonight by George Brennan for owners Norm and Gerald Smiley and the TLP Stable. The Cam’s Card Shark colt, trained by Erv Miller, blossomed here in Lexington last fall and appears to have an affinity for the clay surface.

Slightly off the gate at the start, Shark Gesture settled toward the back of the pack around turn one but Brennan had him underway as they headed down the backstretch. Joe To Go had assumed command as they neared the half and paced with the winner around the far turn, passing the three quarters in 1:24. Shark Gesture moved clear as they straightened up and required minimal urging to post an easy win. He appears to be in top form heading into the Grand Circuit stakes.

Bono Bests (Pro Bono Best) rallied from the back of the pack into a fast final fraction to pick up the place. Gran Sasso used his economical John Campbell guided trip to save third.

Division two was won by Tyrant Hanover (The Panderosa) in 1:51.4. Driver Mike Lachance sat patiently in third with the colt as Disco Dragon and then favored Life Guard On Duty took turns on the lead. Lachance edged to the outside around the last bend and engaged Life Guard On Duty. These two battle through a :26.4 final quarter with Tyrant Hanover edging clear in the shadow of the wire. Life Guard On Duty (Jenna’s Beach Boy) held for second with Disco Dragon (Dragon Again) third.

The $63,400 trot went to the Self Possessed gelding Make You Mine and driver Mike Lachance. Never one to be forwardly placed, Make You Mine got away toward the back of the pack as Man About Town sailed along on the lead through honest fractions. Youngblood Hall pulled first-over just past the half and Lachance drafted along behind him, using that one’s cover until the stretch. Tipped wide, Make You Mine responded willingly to draw clear by two lengths at the wire in 1:54.3. Youngblood Hall (Conway Hall) held gamely for the place and Amazon Clipper closed for the show.

Ronnie Gurfein trains the winner of just shy of $500,000 for Brittany Farms, Sampson Street, Meinzinger and Silva. (Red Mile)

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