Plainville, MA – Eight divisions of Massachusetts Sire Stake (MASS) finalists went postward to compete for the $800,000 up for grabs at Plainridge Park on Monday afternoon (Oct. 28) in what turned out to be some of the best championship races the state series has ever seen.
Trainer George Ducharme had an outstanding day winning four MASS stakes with two seconds and one third out of the eight starters he sent to post.
Driver Shawn Gray led all his peers in the series by winning three stakes and five races total during the afternoon.
Here is a summary of the championship day of racing in Massachusetts.
$100,000 2-year-old trotting colt and gelding champion: Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover)
There was never any doubt in the mile for Life Is A Feast (Howard Parker) who grabbed the lead and ran away with the race. After trotting fractions of :28.1, :57.3 and 1:25.4 well in hand, Parker came off the last turn and extended his lead to six at the top of the stretch before coming to the wire a wrapped-up winner in 1:55.4.
The time matched Life Is A Feast’s lifetime mark and also tied the MASS stake and Plainridge Park track records for 2-year-old trotting geldings.
Life Is A Feast ($3.00) scored his fifth win of the year, all at Plainridge Park, for owners Al Ross and Paul Fontaine and the MASS champion has now earned $113,475 in only nine starts during his freshman campaign. Karen Carroll bred Life Is A Feast.
Ross and Fontaine were also part owners of Life Is A Feast’s sire, Royalty For Life, who won the 2013 Hambletonian.
$100,000 2-year-old trotting filly champion: Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration)
RFL’s M London (Jim Hardy) took a quick lead but soon gave it up to the 1-9 favorite Without A Warning (Shawn Gray) who pulled at the eighth pole and hurried to the front by the quarter in :28.4. The field stayed in single file to the half before Sophia’s Express (Jimmy Whittemore) came first over and tried to move forward. After passing three-quarters in 1:28.2 it was clear the competition was not going to catch Without A Warning as she rounded the last turn with a strong lead that she held to the wire where she won by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:58.
Without A Warning ($2.10) remained undefeated in the MASS with her fourth straight win in the series and it pushed her earnings to $186,160 in her first year on the track for owner/breeder Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains Without A Warning.
$100,000 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding champion: Finnbar (Real Desire-Unbeachable)
Favorites R Maddy Blue Chip (Drew Monti) and Han Solo (Kevin Switzer) took turns with the lead, twice by the quarter in :26.3 and one more time at the half in :55.2. There R Maddy Blue Chip finally settled on the front heading up the backstretch. Finnbar (Ivan Davies) who had been drafting fourth, pulled first over at the five eighths and made his way to the front on the outside. He hooked up with the leader and it became a match race for the next quarter mile.
R Maddy Blue Chip and Finnbar paced side by side around the last turn and into the stretch where Finnbar swelled up and opened up a tow-length lead. Davies kept Finnbar to his task and paced strong to the wire, winning by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.4.
The win was the third of the year and a new lifetime mark for Finnbar ($14.40) who has now earned $75,670 this year for owner Nancy Longobardi and trainer Ivan Davies. Steve O’Toole bred the winner.
$100,000 2-year-old pacing filly champion: Odds On Orlando (Captaintreacherous-Lindys Old Lady)
Ry’s Red Rocket (Matt Athearn) took control of the race and set fractions of :28.1 and :57.1 to the half with no movement behind her. Then at the five-eighths marker, 1-9 favorite Odds On Orlando (Drew Monti) pulled first-over and came alongside the leader where a real battle ensued.
Ry’s Red Rocket would not relent and Odds On Orlando could not get by. The two tangled around the last turn and traded leads in the process. But as they made their way into the head of the stretch, Odds On Orlando took the lead for good and ended up one-half length in front under the wire in 1:54.4.
The time was the fourth consecutive new lifetime mark taken by Odds On Orlando.
Sweeping her MASS division to become champion and pushing her bankroll to $112,416 during her month in Massachusetts, Odds On Orlando ($2.20) is owned by Odds On Racing and trained by Tony Alagna. Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred Odds On Orlando.
$100,000 3-year-old trotting colt and gelding champion: Simple Kaos (RC Royalty-Ksenia)
Simple Kaos (Jimmy Whittemore) flew off the wings and took a four-length lead before they hit the quarter in :27.2. The Fixer (Howard Parker) and Jake G’s Champion (Shawn Gray) settled in second and third with the rest of the field having trouble coping with the pace. Positions remained unchanged from there as Simple Kaos stopped the clock in :55.3 and 1:25.1. When they turned for home Simple Kaos was on cruise control and won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:54.4.
With The Fixer finishing second and Jake G’s Champion finishing third, trainer George Ducharme swept the board in this division.
It was the fourth win of the year, all in the MASS, for Simple Kaos ($2.40) who is now a two-time MASS champion. On the strength of the final win, Simple Kaos has now earned $126,070 is 2019 and $249,820 lifetime for owners the George Ducharme Stable and Michelle Larson, who bred the gelding. Ducharme also trains the winner.
$100,000 3-year-old trotting filly champion: Crystalline (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free)
After Mother Teresa (Drew Monti) made a break at the start, Ev’s Girl (Andy Miller) became the commander of fractions, taking the lead ahead of Just Dreamin (Mike Stevenson) and Crystalline (Shawn Gray). After a handy :57.1 half, Gray pulled Crystalline at the five-eighths, drew alongside Ev’s Girl in the turn and then trotted away from the field in the stretch. Under a line drive, Crystalline opened up a 6-1/4 length lead at the wire where she won in 1:55.2.
The time was a new lifetime mark for Crystalline and a new MASS stake record for 3-year-old trotting fillies.
It was the seventh win of the year for Crystalline ($4.40) who on the strength of her MASS competition ran her earnings up to $134,025 this year and $171,186 lifetime for breeder/owner Ray Campbell Jr. George Ducharme trains the winner.
$100,000 3-year-old pacing colt and gelding champion: CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia)
Levi (Scott Renz) and Hollywood Deemon (Drew Campbell) left hard and pushed a swift quarter of :26.2 before the dust settled. Levi ended up on top and kept that position until the half in :55. That’s where Victorias Maverick (Heath Campbell) came flying on the outside, took the lead and opened up a four-length advantage heading into the last turn. But the race was far from over.
CBF Bantam (Shawn Gray) was pacing up a storm on the outside after tipping from mid-pack and caught Victorias Maverick in the last turn. The two hooked up at the top of the stretch and paced stride for stride all the way to the wire where CBF Bantam got a narrow advantage and won by a neck in 1:53.3.
It was the ninth win of the year for CBF Bantam ($3.60) and pushed his winnings to $148,765 this year and $189,952 lifetime for owners Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps, who also bred the winner. David Crochere trains the winner.
$100,000 3-year-old pacing filly champion: Karan’s Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove)
In the lone non-betting event of the day, Karan’s Choice (Jim Hardy) took command of the race at the start and controlled the pace the entire way. After cutting fractions of :28.2, :59.1 and 1:28 to the three-quarters, Karan’s Choice saw Secure The Boarder (Ivan Davies) draw near around the last turn trying to mount an attack. But the leader switched gears and turned back the challenge heading into the lane. Hardy gave Karan’s Choice her head and let her stride-out down the stretch where she pulled away to a 6-1/4 length win in 1:56.4.
It was the fourth straight win in the MASS for Karan’s Choice who is now a two-time MASS champion. On the strength of her eighth win of the year, Karan’s Choice has now earned $129,624 in 2019 and $253,968 lifetime for owner Al Ross, who also bred the filly. Driver Jim Hardy also trains Karan’s Choice.