By Jay Wolf, for Little Brown Jug — The 2021 Little Brown Jug was an instant classic thanks to heart-stopping stretch duel between Perfect Sting (David Miller) and Lou’s Pearlman (Yannick Gingras). The photo finish showed that Lou’s Pearlman won the 76th edition of the pacing classic by a nose Thursday evening (September 23) at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
As the field of eight were set on their way for the $397,080 final heat, Perfect Sting protected his rail position, forcing the eventual winner into a potential pocket trip. Perfect Sting led past the quarter in :28.1.
I’ll Drink To That (Tim Tetrick) was the first to move past the three-eighths mile pole, forcing Gingras and Whichwaytothebeach (Andrew McCarthy) to make a decision to stay on the rail or move to the outside.
Gingras was not content to sit in the pocket and pulled the eventual winner first up at the half in :57.1.
Perfect Sting and Lou’s Pearlman paced in tandem past the three-quarters in 1:25.1. The pair hit the line seemingly together in 1:52.4, which was affected by the cold winds and ‘good’ surface.
Whichwaytothebeach held on to third and I’ll Drink To That was fourth.
Lou’s Pearlman gives driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke their third Jug titles – they teamed up with Filibuster Hanover (2017) and Limelight Beach (2014).
The homebred son of Sweet Lou is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Elizabeth Novak and Howard Taylor.
“This little guy was tough today,” noted Gingras. “All credit goes to the Burke Brigade. They had him good for a month now.”
“I have a lot of faith in this colt,” said Burke. “I would rather go for the win than be locked in, finishing second and talking about what could have happened. So, I am proud of him. He raced great. It was a perfect day.”
In the first elimination, Lou’s Pearlman and Whichwaytothebeach battled for more than a half-mile, but it was Lou’s Pearlman that gutted out a 1 3/4 length victory in 1:54. Whichwaytothebeach held on to second and Mysweetboymax (Aaron Merriman) and Town Gossip (Joe Bongiorno) rounded out the superfecta and advanced to the final.
The second elimination went to Perfect Sting, who used a first over move, clearing the lead before the three-quarter mile pole and held off a late charge of I’ll Drink To That to win by a half-length in 1:54.1. Water Sports Teen (Joe Bongiorno) and Bayfield Beach (Yannick Gingras) finished third and fourth, to move to the final.
The Jug win caps off a memorable week for trainer Ron Burke. Burke was elected into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame earlier in the week and won a record 13 races during the five-day meet, including the $253,800 Jugette on Wednesday.
When Dovescry Wins $116,500 Ms. Versatility Final
When Dovescry (David Miller) took advantage of breaks in stride by Sorella (Dexter Dunn) at the start and by Weslynn Quest (Joe Bongiorno) at the three-quarter pole to win the $116,500 Ms. Versatility Trot Final in 1:56.2.
Ab’sattitudexpress (Yannick Gingras) and Felicityshagwell S (Andy Miller) was second and third.
When Dovescry, a six-year-old Muscle Hill mare, is conditioned by Brett Pelling and is owned by John Lengacher.
Old Oaken Bucket to Sunny Crockett
Andy Miller steered Sunny Crockett to a gate-to-wire victory in the $87,700 Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old colt trotters.
The Father Patrick colt crossed the line a length ahead of Mon Amour (Tim Tetrick) and Swingforthefences (Peter Wrenn) in 1:58.2.
Julie Miller trained the winner for the Willow Oak Ranch and the Andy Miller Stable.
Standardbred Colt Trot to Fiftyfour K
Fiftyfour K (Yannick Gingras) was a popular winner in the $45,330 Standardbred two-year-old colt trot.
The Sebastian K colt defeated Just For Trix (Andy Miller) and Summit City Sonny (Joey Putnam) by three lengths in 2:02.2.
Fiftyfour K is owned by the Here’s To Us Stable and is trained by Ron Steck, who is based at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
“Cowboy’ Lassos Standardbred Field
Captain Cowboy (Yannick Gingras) won the $46,710 Standardbred for freshman colt pacers by 2 ½ lengths over Birthday (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) and Good Deal (Chris Page) in 1:57.1.
The Captaintreacherous colt won for the fourth time in six career starts for co-owner/trainer Ake Svanstedt and Little E Stable.
Gulf Shores Remains Undefeated with OBC Win
The two-year-old Ohio freshman pacing star Gulf Shores (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) remained undefeated thanks to a 1:56.2 score in the $132,667 OBC.
Sling Shock (Dan Noble) and Gulf Shores swapped the lead early lead, but it was a quarter-pole move by the eventual winner that proved to be the winning one.
The son of Downbytheseaside cruised to a two-length win over his rival and Vintage Cowboy (Matt Kakaley).
Gulf Shores, a Brian Brown trainee, won for the sixth straight time for Country Club Acres, Diamond Creek Racing and Wingfield Brothers.
Winning Ticket and Lockbox Take OBC 3CT Splits
Winning Tinning (Aaron Merriman) continued his dominance over his divisional rivals thanks to a 4 ½ length score in 1:58.3 in the $100,868 (div) OBC for sophomore cot trotters.
The Triumphant Caviar colt remains undefeated in the state of Ohio and suffered just one defeat – a third place finish in the $479,135 Canadian Trotting Classic – this season.
Winning Ticket is co-owned by trainer Chris Beaver, Steven Zeehandelar, Tim Homan and Jim Burnett.
Lockbox (Chris Page) took the first $50,434 division in 2:00.4 over Double Down K (Yannick Gingras) and Ilikedecupcakes (Hugh Beaty).
The Wishing Stone gelding is trained by Ron Burke for the Burke Racing Stable, Purnel & Libby, J & T Silva Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.
3CP OBCs to Charlie May and Gallant Star
Gallant Star used a confident steer by Tim Tetrick and caught Laughagain Hanover (Dan Noble) in the stretch to take the first division of the $108,700 Ohio Breeders Championship for three-year-old colt pacers in 1:56.4.
The Well Said gelding won for the fourth straight time for Carl Howard, Larry Wills and Jeffrey Rector. He is trained by Virgil Morgan, Jr.
Charlie May cruised to a 4 ¼ length score in 1:55.2 in the second $54,350 division over rival Heart Of Chewbacca (Dan Noble) and Cyclone Union Jack (David Miller).
Don Tiger owns the McArdle gelding. Steve Carter trains and Dexter Dunn picked up the catch drive from an ailing Brett Miller.
Upset in the Lady Pace
She Knows It All (Tim Tetrick) picked a good time to pick up her first win of the season in the $96,520 OBC for three-year-old filly pacers.
The Racing Hill lass went wide into the final turn and passed the tiring leaders to score in 1:55. She paid $30.40 to win.
Foulk Stables and Triple D Stables own the winner. Clarence Foulk trains She Knows It All, who now has two career wins, but earnings of $175,710.