Billy Flynn remains unbeaten with Bluegrass trot score

by Kimberly Rinker, USTA Web Newsroom Correspondent

Lexington, KY — Five divisions of 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings vied in the Walnut Hall Ltd. Cup as part of the Bluegrass Series of the Grand Circuit on Friday night (Sept. 26) at The Red Mile.

Billy Flynn remained undefeated with a 1:55.4 triumph.

Undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Billy Flynn captured his $78,400 division handily in 1:55.4, holding off a late charge by the hard-trying Muscle Diamond (John Campbell) to prevail by a half-length under the wire.

Driver Brett Miller steered the son of Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones-Enjoy Lavec through splits of :29.2, :58.1 and 1:28.3 to notch his eighth career victory. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to $312,057 for owners Bender Sweden, Inc.

“If he comes out of this race okay, then we’ll keep him here and race him here next week,” said winning trainer Staffan Lind, a Swedish native who has conditioned 158 winners to $5.4 million in career earnings stateside.

Billy Flynn is the fourth foal out of his dam, and is a full brother to Mr Chicago 3,1:53.3 ($80,698); M Douglas 3,1:56.4f ($63,650); and Cantab Jones 3,1:55 ($18,525).

“Billy Flynn is so handy, he acts like an old professional,” said Miller. “He’s a big, long-gaited colt and this track really suits his style of racing.”

Trainer Jimmy Takter conditioned back-to-back Walnut Hall winners in the fourth and fifth divisions (races 10 and 11), and also drove the winner of the final event.

Ron Pierce guided Uncle Lasse to a win in a lifetime best 1:54.1.

First, he harnessed Uncle Lasse to a win in near wire-to-wire fashion for driver Ron Pierce in 1:54.1. The son of Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide left the gate at odds of 6-5 en route to his fourth win of the season in eight starts. Guess Whos Back got up for second with Brian Sears in the sulky, while Sugarmakesmecrazy rallied for third with trainer Ake Svanstedt at the lines. American-National winner Iron finished a solid fourth for driver Tim Tetrick.

“He was super sharp tonight and his gait was absolutely flawless,” Pierce noted. “This was really an easy effort for him, and last week (a seventh placed tenth finish in the Wellwood at Mohawk), this colt just got a little anxious, but he’s back on his game tonight.”

Uncle Lasse now has $203,279 in career earnings for owners Solveig’s Racing Partners. He is the fifth foal out of his dam and is a full brother to 2013 Dan Patch Award winner Shake It Cerry 3,1:52.1s ($1,406,855) and Solvato 3,1:53.2f ($300,931).

Takter next steered The Bank to a win in 1:53.4, sneaking up on the leading Piercewave Hanover (Yannick Gingras) just yards before the wire. The clocking was a career best for the son of Donato Hanover-Lantern Kronos-Viking Kronos, who was making just his sixth lifetime start. Big Rich (Tim Tetrick) grabbed third-place honors.

“I knew that this horse is extremely honest and I didn’t want to rush him,” Takter said. “I preferred to race him from behind. I trained his mother so this is really a fun deal for us. He prefers a big track and therefore, we’ll likely keep him here and race him back here next week.”

The Bank added $39,200 to his coffers, pushing his bankroll to $64,810.

Wellwood Memorial winner Habitat added another victory to his list, upping the number to five wins this season, this latest in a career best 1:53.4 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ronnie Burke.

Nigel Soult photos

Habitat was a 1:53.4 winner for Yannick Gingras.

The son of Conway Hall-Habit’s Best-Muscles Yankee was a $50,000 purchase at the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, and pushed his career earnings to $311,953 for owners Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.

“He was maybe just a little too sharp tonight and it cost him a little bit of energy,” Gingras noted. “I knew he had a big last quarter in him and at the top of the stretch he was still very strong. But those other two horses are very good too, so it made for a good race.”

Gingras put Habitat on the front past the :28.2 opening quarter and he set middle-half fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.3 before brushing his final quarter in :27.1 to win by three-quarters of a length over Honor And Serve (Tim Tetrick), with Cruzado Dela Noche (David Miller) garnering third.

Southwind Stryker picked up his maiden win by capturing his $78,400 Walnut Hall Bluegrass division in 1:53.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Brad Maxwell. It was the son of Muscle Hill-Soxeelady-Conway Hall’s sixth start of his brief career for owners Doug Millard, Paul Van Camp, Howard Taylor and Maxwell.

With the win, he bested Peter Haughton Memorial winner Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) by a head, wearing the latter down in the final yards of the stretch. Wicker Hanover was fourth placed third for Ron Pierce after Whataworkout (Scott Zeron) was placed from third to fourth for violation of the breaking rule.

“The horse was super good tonight but he earned this win,” Tetrick confirmed. “The trip worked out well for us, and he was just able to get by that other horse.”

Southwind Stryker, a $40,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale, pushed his career earnings to $99,461.

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