American Courage to be supplemented to Little Brown Jug for $45,000

Gordon Waterstone

Lexington, KY — Trainer Travis Alexander has not been back to the fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, since capturing back-to-back Jugettes in 2005-06 with Just Wait Kate and Eternity’s Delight, but he will be at the half-mile oval on Thursday (Sept. 23) when he starts American Courage in the Little Brown Jug.

Not eligible to the Jug, owners Mark and Leslie Wasserman and Alaina Alexander of Fiddler’s Creek Stables will pay the $45,000 supplemental entry fee, a path to the pacing classic made possible by the colt’s win in the $500,000 Messenger Stake on July 2 at Yonkers Raceway.

“We’re going to Delaware!” said Alexander. “As good as he is on a half, how could we not?”

American Courage‘s connections will pay the $45,000 supplemental entry fee for the Little Brown Jug. USTA/Mark Hall photo.

Alexander was referring to American Courage‘s 9-for-11 record on half-mile tracks over his 18-start career. A son of American Ideal, American Courage dominated the New York Sires Stakes last year that is contested primarily over half-mile tracks. His only miscue came in the NYSS final when he suffered a case of atrial fibrillation and finished last after leading early.

This year, American Courage had been a perfect four-for-four on half-mile starts — including his Messenger victory at Yonkers — before finishing fourth last time out on Monday (Sept. 13) against older horses in the $48,000 Open Pace.

Alexander said the race was necessary as the sophomore pacer had not started since the Aug. 29 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs, where he finished fourth in what was now the last of three starts — he also won a New York Sires Stakes at Yonkers and was seventh in the Cane Pace at The Meadowlands — racing on the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.

“That race was by design,” said Alexander about American Courage, whose fourth-place check in the Open brought his career earnings to $532,504. “Putting him on Lasix cost us a lot of money this year. He’s allergic to it, that’s why if you noticed his form fell apart. He raced three times, ‘thumped’ twice, and in the one start he won he was empty and had no pace but he still won. Five minutes after that last race at Tioga, I got the vet over and (American Courage) was thumping again. Not as bad as the Cane, and we took him off that day.”

Alexander said when driver Matt Kakaley gave two thumbs-up after the fourth-place finish in the Open, the decision to supplement to the Jug was made.

“Matt said (American Courage) was raging in the race, and that he hadn’t felt like that since the elims for the Messenger,” said Alexander. “That’s all we needed to know. I called Mark (Wasserman) two minutes after he came off the track after the race on Monday. We sent the money (Wednesday, Sept. 15).”

Supplements were first allowed in the Jug in 1999, with current conditions providing that any non-eligible horse that wins either the Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup, Cane Pace or Messenger could be supplemented. Next year the conditions change to allow any non-eligible 3-year-old pacer to be able to be supplemented.

Only a handful of horses have been previously supplemented to the Little Brown Jug: Four Starzzz Shark (2001); Art Official (2008); Betterthancheddar (2011); Lyonssomewhere (2014); Wiggle It Jiggleit (2015) and Courtly Choice (2018). The latter two both reached the winner’s circle.

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