By Ken Weingartner, USTA — After a little bad luck in Canada, everything was good for Draw The Line in last week’s Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile. Dustin Jones — who bred, owns, and trains the 2-year-old female trotter — will hope fortune continues to smile upon the filly in Saturday’s first of four divisions of the International Stallion Stakes in Lexington.
Draw The Line and driver Scott Zeron won their $86,000 Bluegrass split by four lengths in 1:53.2, a time bettered by only four 2-year-old female trotters this season. She will start the ISS from post four in a field of eight, with Zeron returning in the sulky, and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Graceful Design, leaving from post six, is the 5-2 favorite for driver Andy McCarthy and trainer Tony Alagna.
For the year, Draw The Line has won two of eight races, with one second and two thirds. She has not missed a paycheck in any start, earning $83,563 in U.S. dollars.
Prior to the Bluegrass, Draw The Line’s biggest starts came at Woodbine Mohawk Park in the Pure Ivory Series final, where she finished third (missing second by a nose), and the Peaceful Way final, where she set the early fractions before finishing fifth.
After winning a conditioned race by two lengths on Sept. 7, she got sick prior to a fourth-place finish in a division of the Champlain Stakes.
A pocket trip in the Bluegrass proved to be a winner.
“I like her,” Jones said. “She trained good all the time. She was unlucky in some of the races in Canada; things just didn’t work out for her. At the Red Mile, she got the two hole and the horse in front kept going. (Draw The Line) was able to wait and pulled out at the head of the stretch and went by. She had the perfect trip.
“If she repeats what she did last week it would be great. You’re always a little gun-shy because every week something new steps up. It all depends on the trip, too.”
Draw The Line is a daughter of Cantab Hall-Ridge Speed. Jones bought Ridge Speed for $5,000 as a yearling at the 2015 Standardbred Mixed Sale in Harrisburg. After a brief career on the track, she has produced three foals, all winners, for Jones. Her full sister Prettysydney Ridge is the dam of Talent Scout, who captured last year’s Madison County Stakes and is a multiple winner on the Indiana stakes circuit. He has made $464,412.
Following her appearance in the International Stallion Stakes, Draw The Line’s next start could come in the Breeders Crown.
“If all goes well, most likely we’ll try her,” said Jones, who owns Draw The Line with Dean Lockhart. “She’s real smart. She’s not hard on herself on the track. She drives nice, you don’t have to fight with her. She’s sensible. It makes it so much easier when they relax on the track.”
In addition to the International Stallion divisions for the 2-year-old female trotters, Saturday’s Red Mile card includes four ISS splits for freshman male pacers. Better Is Nice, Captain Albano, and Newsroom — who have combined to hit the board in all 21 of their starts, winning 17 — drew into separate divisions and are each 8-5 favorites.
Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT). For free daily Red Mile programs, click here.