by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Lexington, KY — Behindclosedoors surged down the stretch to overtake Costa Rica and Action-Broadway in the final strides and win the $70,500 first division of the Bluegrass Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters in 1:55.1 on Friday (Oct. 22) at The Red Mile.
Munis Blue Chip, driven by Ray Schnittker, grabbed the early lead from post seven and marched the field to the first quarter in :30 seconds. Dave Palone moved Behindclosedoors to the front on the backstretch and saw Ron Pierce and Costa Rica pull alongside at the halfway point, reached in :59.2.
Costa Rica cleared to the lead and faced pressure from Action-Broadway as they raced around the final turn. Palone was content to wait until reaching the top of the stretch to tip out three wide and hustle Behindclosedoors to the wire. She won by a half length. Costa Rica held for second and Action-Broadway was third.
It was the fourth win in 13 races this year for Behindclosedoors. She has earned $336,748 for trainer Chuck Sylvester and owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.
Last week, Behindclosedoors went off stride in her first heat of the Kentucky Filly Futurity at The Red Mile.
“She kind of shook her head behind the gate and ran into the gate a little,” Sylvester said. “It was just one of those things. She was a little anxious and she made a break. That was the first one she’s ever made. This week she was a little more relaxed and she was better.”
Bar Slide got to the front in the opening quarter-mile and was never threatened on her way to a 5-1/4 length win over Ultimate Cameron in 1:55.2 in the $70,500 second division.
It was the fifth win in 14 races this year for Bar Slide. She has earned $568,529 for trainer Joe Holloway and owners Fredericka Caldwell and Bluestone Farms. Earlier this season, Bar Slide won the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks.
Driven by Tim Tetrick in the Bluegrass and sent off at odds of 9-5, Bar Slide made the lead from post six in the seven-horse field as Croquet Style and Up Front Juansteen went off stride.
Bar Slide led Ultimate Cameron, Sweetspellosuccess and Bone A Fide down the backstretch in single file. There was little action until Bone A Fide moved first over and forced Ultimate Cameron to pull from the pocket on the final turn.
No one was going to catch Bar Slide, however, as she pulled away to win comfortably off fractions of :28.2, :57.3 and 1:27.2. Ultimate Cameron was second and Sweetspellosuccess was third.
“She has been battling an ulcerated colon,” said trainer Joe Holloway in the winner’s circle about Bar Slide. “It wasn’t as easy as it looked today. This was her final career start and she will head to the breeding shed.”
Impressive Kemp followed Poof She’s Gone around the final turn and chased down leader Bramalea Hanover in the stretch to win the $70,500 third division of the Bluegrass Stakes by two lengths in a career-best 1:54.3. Poof She’s Gone finished second and Glide Power was third. Favorite Fashion Feline, coming off her Kentucky Filly Futurity triumph, went off stride prior to the start and was no factor.
“That was the way to race her, to try to follow a helmet and come off the back as late as you can,” winning driver Ron Pierce said. “(Poof She’s Gone) took us right where we needed to go and this filly had enough trot to go and trot to the wire.”
Glide Power made it to the front in the opening quarter before yielding the lead to Bramalea Hanover on the backstretch as the field reached the half in :57. As the field entered the final turn, Poof She’s Gone moved first over and Impressive Kemp followed her cover.
Down the lane, Pierce gave Impressive Kemp a hand drive.
“You don’t want to do anything to put any fear into her at all,” Pierce said. “She doesn’t like that.”
Impressive Kemp, who earlier this month won the Breeders Crown, has won seven of 17 races this year and earned $445,326. She is trained by Noel Daley for owner Jean Cloutier.