Sophomores in KYSS action Thurs. at Red Mile
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The second round of Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) for 3-year-old pacers and trotters is set for Thursday night at The Red Mile. Six $30,000 KYSS races open up the 13-race card which kicks off at 7 p.m. (EDT).
Race 1 is the lone division for male trotters and the Jimmy Takter-trained stablemates Wolfgang and Tactical Landing will start from posts 1 and 2, respectively, in the 10-horse field.
Wolfgang, who won the Goodtimes final at Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands, bounced back from a disappointing off-the-board finish in his Hambletonian elimination to capture the first KYSS leg in 1:53.2 for driver Jordan Stratton. Stratton is back behind the son of My MVP who is listed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind Tactical Landing, who is the 8-5 favorite.
Tactical Landing, with Takter in the sulky, made a break at the start of last week's KYSS heat but after falling nearly two dozen lengths behind, caught the field and closed rapidly down the stretch to finish just 4 ¼ lengths behind Wolfgang in third. The son of Muscle Hill, who was an $800,000 yearling purchase, has shown quick improvement this year, capturing his Hambletonian elimination and then finishing third in the $1 million final.
The single KYSS division for male pacers is an 11-horse field (Race 6) with the Takter-trained (and driven) Grand Teton drawing the trailing 11 post. Despite overcoming the far outside post 10 in the opening round to score a 1:51 victory and moving inside on Thursday, Grand Teton, a son of A Rocknroll Dance, is listed as the 4-1 third choice.
Favored at 2-1 from post 4 is KYSS newcomer American History, a four-time winner this year including a 1:47 sizzler at the Meadowlands. Trained by Tony Alagna, the son of American Ideal is coming off a second-place finish in the Empire Breeders Classic final at Tioga Downs. Andy McCarthy will drive American History, who also has a runner-up finish on his ledger in the Adios final at The Meadows.
The 5-2 second choice is recent Carl Milstein Memorial (at Northfield Park) champ Thinkbig Dreambig, who will start from post 6 for trainer Takter and driver Stratton. The son of Bettor's Delight was a half-length back of Grand Teton in second in the KYSS opener as the 1-9 betting favorite.
There are two KYSS divisions for filly pacers and the second split (Race 4) is stacked as the one-two finishers in each split last week have landed in this heat. Dance Blue, a most-impressive 1:50.2 winner in leg one starts from post 4 for driver McCarthy and trainer Nancy Johansson at morning-line odds of 7-5, while Pure Paradise, who scored a first-leg win in 1:55, starts from post 6 for driver David Miller and trainer Brian Brown as the 3-1 second choice.
Runners-up Neverforgetwhour and Band Stand start from posts 2 and 5, with drivers Elliott Deaton and Matt Krueger, respectively.
The first division (Race 2) appears wide open, with Hurrikane Empress (Peter Wrenn, post 2) and Sun Shines Bright (Stratton, post 7), who were third and fourth, respectively, last time out to Dance Blue, the program favorites.
Three divisions for 3-year-old filly trotters last week have turned into a pair of 10-horse splits this time out. While first-leg winner Live Laugh Love sits this round out, Urban Legend and Top Expectations, who captured the other two splits, are out to repeat.
Urban Legend, who was a 1:54.2 winner, drew post 6 in the first division (Race 3), for driver Marcus Johansson and trainer Nancy Johansson. Despite the victory, Urban Legend is the 3-1 second choice behind 2-1 favorite Pat Matters, who closed fast to finish second to Live Laugh Love in the opening round. Pat Matters will be driven by Takter for trainer Paul Kelley.
Top Expectations, who was a 1:55.4 winner and is looking to defend her 2017 KYSS title, starts from post 1 in the second division (Race 5). Stratton drives the 2-1 favorite for trainer Erv Miller.
The third and final KYSS prelims for 2-year-old trotters is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8, with the last leg for 2-year-old pacers on Saturday, Sept. 9. Leg three for the 3-year-old divisions will be contested on Sunday, Sept. 9. The up-to-date point standings for each division can be viewed by clicking here.
The top-10 point-earners in each of the eight divisions will return for the $2 million KYSS championships on Sunday, Sept. 16, with a special afternoon post time of 3 p.m. The eight $250,000 finals will be the centerpiece of the new Fayette County Fair, which will take place that day from noon to 6 p.m.
The fair will include food trucks, local craft breweries, bourbon tastings and an arts and crafts market. Also, several musical acts will play on two stages (one inside and one outside), with rising country star and Lexington native Walker Montgomery among the performers. The racing program will be kicked off with a horse parade of various breeds and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation will offer hands-on equine experience. (KYSS)