By Ken Weingartner, USTA — Bill Pollock enjoys the thrill of winning races and a victory in Thursday’s Little Brown Jug would rank up there with the biggest of thrills.
Pollock is among the owners of Seven Colors, one of the 18 hopefuls in the 78th edition of the classic event for 3-year-old pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Seven Colors, who is 3-for-3 since being purchased by Pollock, Bruce Areman, and trainer Andrew Harris in early August, competes in the second of three $50,000 eliminations.
Seven Colors will start his elim from post six with driver Dexter Dunn and is 7-2 on the morning line. The top-three finishers from each elimination will advance to the $850,000 same-day final, which is scheduled for 6:24 p.m. (EDT). The Jug and some races on the day’s undercard will air from 1-7 p.m. on FS2’s “America’s Day at the Races,” which also will include coverage of Aqueduct.
“It will be very exciting,” Pollock said of the Jug. “I always say that I like blankets more than purses. Purses are helpful, but I like winning blankets and watching my horses race. My family gets excited about it, my young son (Billy) loves it, we really enjoy it.
“I’m normally not that nervous before a race, I know it’s a sporting event and anything can happen, but I’m really nervous for this one because of the prestige of the event. This is the Little Brown Jug, and that’s a big deal. It’s a very big deal to me anyway. The name is even better to me than the prize money. It’s the ultimate race.”
Seven Colors has won seven of 14 races this year and earned $477,220. Since joining his new connections, the colt has captured the Carl Milstein Memorial, a preliminary round of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, and the PASS championship. His 1:48.1 victory in the Milstein at Northfield Park set the world record for a 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile track. Delaware also is a half-mile oval.
“I think (Seven Color’s) endurance is the biggest thing for me, that he’s able to be parked the whole mile and still be very competitive, and I’m looking forward to the Jug for that reason,” Pollock said. “You have to go two heats and I think he’s going to do pretty well with that. That remains to be seen, but we think the horse is in good shape.”
Pollock got started owning horses less than a year ago. His first purchase, with longtime friend Areman, was Abuckabett Hanover in October 2022. He now owns seven horses and is looking to add 10 to 15 at the upcoming yearling sales.
“Bruce had been involved, and for years he wanted me to do it,” said Pollock, a Freehold, N.J., resident who is one of the owners of Trinity Solar (where Areman is vice president of sales), one of the largest privately held solar company in the country. “We used to go to the races when I was younger. We liked it back then, and now I have the opportunity to be an owner. I like the sport of it. We just love the horses.”
This year’s $1 million total purse for the Little Brown Jug is a record, and the event attracted 18 horses, the most since 19 competed in the 2013 Jug won by Vegas Vacation. The field includes seven of the eight richest 3-year-old male pacers this season: It’s My Show, Seven Colors, Stockade Seelster, Voukefalas, Cannibal, Huntinthelastdolar, and Thunder Hunter Joe.
Voukefalas, a two-time New Jersey Sire Stakes champion and winner of the New Jersey Classic on Sept. 9, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first elimination. He will start from post one with Jordan Stratton driving for trainer Michael Russo.
New York Sire Stakes championship runner-up Thunder Hunter Joe is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination, just ahead of NYSS champ Huntinthelastdolar at 3-1. Thunder Hunter Joe will start from post one with Tim Tetrick driving for Nick DeVita while Huntinthelastdolar, supplemented to the event for $45,000, leaves from post two with Doug McNair in the sulky for Gregg McNair.
The third elimination features North America Cup-winner It’s My Show, the 9-5 favorite, as well as Adios winner Cannibal, who is 2-1, and millionaire Stockade Seelster, who is 7-2.
It’s My Show, leaving from post two, will have Scott Zeron driving for Linda Toscano. Cannibal, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky for Nancy Takter, goes from post one while Stockade Seelster starts from post four with David Miller driving for Ian Moore. Miller, who teamed with Moore to win the 2008 Jug with Shadow Play, shares the record for most Jug victories, five, with Billy Haughton and Mike Lachance.
“From my perspective, everybody is here except for (No. 1-ranked) Confederate,” Pollock said. “It’s the best of the best. It’s going to be a good race. We’ll have our hands full with the other competitors. There are a lot of other great horses in there.
“It’s horse racing, and you can be the best horse and not win, or you could not be the best horse and win. That’s the way racing goes.”
Elimination winners draw for posts one through three for the final. Second-place finishers draw for posts four through six and third-place finishers for spots seven through nine.
The Little Brown Jug is the third jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. Captain Batboy won the first jewel, the Messenger, and Confederate won the second, the Cane Pace.
Racing begins at 11 a.m. (EDT) Thursday at Delaware. For free daily programs, visit the Little Brown Jug website here and look under the “Race Info” tab.