By JAY WOLF — Southwind Ozzi threw his name into the ring as the best three-year-old colt pacer in the country with his two heat wins in securing the 74th Little Brown Jug on Thursday (September 19) at the Delaware County Fair.
At the start of the $384,000 final heat, David Miller sent Stag Party out of post number 5 and grabbed the early lead. The second elimination winning Fast N First (Brett Miller) was second and American Mercury was third though the first two panels in :26 2/5 and :54 3/5.
As the field of six headed down the backstretch the second time, Southwind Ozzi sat second just outside Stag Party in 1:22 1/5.
At they turned for home and to the roar of the 48,126 fans, Southwind Ozzi cruised home to score the 1 ¾ length victory over Fast N First and American Mercury (Tyler Buter) in 1:50 1/5.
Southwind Ozzi is the sophomore son of Somebeachsomewhere and was bred by Southwind Farms.
Owners Vincent A. Ali, Jr. and Alma Iafelice and trainer Bill MacKenzie hoisted the Jug for the first time.
Driver Brian Sears also won the 2013 title with Vegas Vacation.
Southwind Ozzi leaves Ohio with a four race win streak and $771,263 in career earnings.
In the first elimination, Yannick Gingras sent De Los Cielos Deo fast off the gates wings. The gelding then make a wicked break in stride scattering the field.
Shake That House (Tim Tetrick) inherited the lead and Stag Party found a spot second at the rail. The leaders past the quarter in :27 1/5, the half in :55.
Southwind Ozzi was the first to challenge and was second on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:22 2/5. The eventual winner stuck a nose ahead at the 7/8 mile mark and sprinted home in :28 1/5 to score a 2 ¾ length win over Air Force Hanover (Simon Allard), who won the photo finish over a charging Stag Party. Shake That House held on for the final advancing position.
The second elimination was a drag race from the start. Semi Tough (Matt Kakaly) and Artie’s Ideal (Marcus Miller) battled through the opening quarter in :25 3/5.
American Mercury (Tyler Buter) took the lead from Semi Tough before the half in :53 3/5.
American Mercury led past the three-quarters in 1:21 2/5.
A four way photo at the wire showed the fast closing Fast N First (Brett Miller) a nose better than American Mercury. Artie’s Ideal was third and Semi Tough was fourth.
Artie’s Ideal and Shake That House were later scratched from the second heat.
Jay Wolf is an HRI HARNESS contributor