Wilkes-Barre, PA — Shake That House and driver Brian Sears found a good spot early and an even better spot at the end of Saturday’s (June 29) $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Benefiting from a pocket trip behind pacesetting Captain Victorious, Shake That House moved off the pylons heading into the stretch and marched to a two length win over Brassy Hanover in 1:49.2 over a “good” surface at Pocono. Captain Victorious finished third.
Shake That House, who started from post seven and was sent off at odds of 8-1, got to the front on the first turn but yielded the lead to Captain Victorious following an opening quarter in :26.2. Captain Victorious reached the half in :55.1 and then faced a first-over challenge from Hurrikane Emperor as they reached three-quarters in 1:21.4.
Captain Victorious rebuffed Hurrikane Emperor on the final turn but was unable to hold off Shake That House or Brassy Hanover in the stretch.
“I was just glad I put down Brian Sears to drive (Shake That House),” winning trainer Chris Oakes said. “Once you hand the lines off, you want the right guy in the bike. When the money is on the line, (Sears) is the man.”
Shake That House, a son of American Ideal-Shake That Junk, has won five of six races this year and eight of 14 in his career. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $410,903 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Alan Johnston, and Northfork Racing Stable.
The colt paid $19.40 to win.
“I can’t say enough about my crew,” Oakes said. “They worked day and night for the last week and we got the job done.”
Max C. Hempt was a renowned Pennsylvania-based breeder, whose horses were known for the prefix “Keystone,” as well as a longtime director of the U.S. Trotting Association and Hambletonian Society. He served as the Hambletonian Society president from 1966-1984 and the creation of the Breeders Crown series evolved under his leadership. Hempt, who passed away in 1999, was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1980.
In the $75,000 consolation of the Hempt, Captain Trevor led a sweep of the top-three spots for trainer Tony Alagna. Captain Trevor, the 9-5 second choice, was driven by Andy McCarthy and stopped the clock in 1:50.1. Odds On Boca Raton finished second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, while Escapetothebeach, the 6-5 favorite, was third.
Captain Trevor, a son of Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination, has won two of six races this year and eight of 15 in his career. He pushed his lifetime earnings to $186,250 for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant, and Captain Trevor Racing.
He paid $5.80 to win.