Lexington, KY — Entering from several off-the-board finishes, Brian Brown trainee Workin Ona Mystery catapulted off cover to pace the quickest mile of the three divisions of the $267,400 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes — sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms — on Sunday (Sept. 29) at The Red Mile.
Semi Tough took command from Dancin Lou entering the first turn and led the field to a :27.1 opening quarter while 4-5 favorite Captain Crunch sat fourth with Workin Ona Mystery on his back. The favorite then tipped from the pylons passing a :54.4 half and ranged towards the pacesetter while supplying cover to Workin Ona Mystery heading to three-quarters in 1:21.4. Captain Crunch took command from Semi Tough through the stretch but could not withstand Workin Ona Mystery as he darted past to a two length victory in 1:48.1. Dancin Lou, off a pocket trip, finished third.
“It’s been a two-month struggle,” Brian Brown said after the race. “It’s like every time you turned around, there was something else wrong blood related — some infection; the white count was out of whack and then it’d knock his red count, his hemoglobin, out of whack. Just something all the time with him — and he’s finally getting healthy again. Tim (Tetrick)’s helped with getting him rigged up. He’s behaving much better; he’s more relaxed. Hats off to his groom, his trainer — they’ve helped me get this horse back going.”
Bred by White Birch Farm and owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith and Wingfield Brothers, Workin Ona Mystery won his ninth race from 17 career starts, earning $430,341. Tim Tetrick drove the Captaintreacherous-Dragon’s Tale colt who paid $4.60 to win.
American Mercury motored off a pocket trip to a 1:49.3 victory in the second division of the Captaintreacherous.
Driver Tyler Buter pushed for the front with American Mercury heading to the first turn but yielded command to Can’t Beach That after a :27 first quarter. American Mercury stayed in the pocket through a :55 half and three-quarters in 1:23.3 while Can’t Beach That endured far-turn pressure from De Los Cielos Deo. But De Los Cielos Deo faltered into the stretch, leaving room for American Mercury to slingshot from the pocket and to the lead through the stretch. He hit the finish two lengths better than Fabrice Hanover, who tracked De Los Cielos Deo’s cover for second, with Can’t Beach That finishing third.
Winning his 10th race from 20 career starts, American Mercury (American Ideal-Tessa Hanover) has earned $631,443 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice. Chris Oakes trains the $3.40 winner bred by Steve Stewart, Julie Nash and Charles Nash.
Bettor’s Wish brushed past tiring horses circling the final turn to take the final Captaintreacherous split.
The Chris Ryder trainee raced fourth while Air Force Hanover took control before a :26.4 first quarter. Pyro then pulled wide from third and surged to the lead nearing a :53.4 half but soon decelerated heading to the final turn. Driver Dexter Dunn angled Bettor’s Wish from fourth and blitzed the pacesetter as he slowed to three-quarters in 1:22, then opened a four-length margin on the field through the lane. Air Force Hanover gave pursuit from second while Shake That House closed from third over to finish third in a 1:48.3 mile.
“He impressed me even this week,” Ryder said after the race. “I was saying to myself (that) he feels fresh; he doesn’t feel tired. I had a little bit of trouble with him in the stall — he keeps spinning around; he’s just got so much energy the last two or three weeks. He wanted to go race; he didn’t want to be locked up. That’s just the way he is.”
Accruing $1,426,000 in lifetime earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor’s Wish — a son of Bettor’s Delight-Lifetime Star bred by Brittany Farms — collected his 15th victory from 26 career starts. He paid $2.20 to win.
“This horse he has such a great personality; he’s what I look for in a yearling,” said Art Zubrod, co-owner through Fair Island Farm, after the race. “Every time you put him in the paddock with somebody he was the same…he just can’t wait to get to the racetrack.
“Last year I thought he was a top colt and Chris (Ryder) called me this winter, he said, ‘We’ve been offered quite a bit of money, what do you think?’ And I said ‘Man, I’m going to be honest with you: I know this horse is top three. Paul MacDonell last year took such good care of this horse.”
Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile Thursday (Oct. 3) with the $350,000 (est.) International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Racing gets underway with first race post at 1 p.m. (EDT).