Jeffery P & Always Be Lucy capture Miami Valley features

Lebanon, OH – Jeffery P, as he is prone to do, left the gate alertly on Monday (Feb. 21) and prevailed in gate-to-finish fashion for his initial success at Miami Valley in his second attempt in the $30,000 Open Handicap Trot.

Jeffery P won his first Miami Valley $30K Open Trot by defeating Pass The Vape in 1:53.4 on Monday. Conrad photo.

The 7-year-old Ohio-sired son of Full Count returned to the Buckeye State in late January riding a six-race win streak at The Meadows, got parked from an assigned outside post position in his initial southwest Ohio start and had the win skein snapped. After recuperating for a couple weeks, Jeffery P and driver Brett Miller were determined to make amends the second time around.

Dispatched this time at 10-1 odds from another outside starting spot, Miller pushed the gate away and never hesitated until reaching the top just before the quarter timer flashed :27.2. Without pressure, Jeffery P got a second quarter respite before favored Pass The Vape (Dan Noble) ranged up on the outside at the :57.1 midway juncture. With Miller allowing the winner to lengthen his stride, Noble tucked into an available pocket seat through the 1:25 three quarters. Miller had to keep Jeffery P’s attention through the lane, but the outcome was never in serious jeopardy when the wire was reached in 1:53.4.

Ron Burke trains Jeffery P, a prolific winner who has visited 39 winner’s circles in just 118 career starts. Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phil Collura are the Burke Racing Stable’s ownership partners.

A Claim To Fame championship showdown featuring the best local $20,000 claiming mares was also contested. Always Be Lucy (Jeremy Smith) was strongest in the stretch to capture the lion’s share of the $27,500 purse. A month ago Always Be Lucy won the $22,500 final of a similar series for $12,500 distaff pacers, but she didn’t seem to mind the jump in class at all.

Always Be Lucy closed best of all to capture the $27,500 Claim To Fame Series championship for $20,000 claiming mares at Miami Valley. Conrad photo

In both series, Always Be Lucy was either a runnerup or show finisher in each preliminary leg, then saved the best for last in the championships. As has been her recent custom, Smith got the winner away in fifth place along the pylons in the early going, then moved into second over position in the outer flow until unleashing her furious closing kick in the stretch.

While ‘Lucy’ paid $11.80 to win, the exotics were eye-popping as longshots I Choose You (Josh Sutton) and Noone To Depend On (Tyler Smith) secured the place and show finishes. The $2 exacta returned $152.80 and the 50-cent trifecta was worth $248.80.

Jeff Nisonger oversees Always Be Lucy’s conditioning from his winter training site in Hawkinsville, Georgia. Myron Koester of Sidney, Ohio is her proud owner.

Miami Valley races each Sunday through Thursday afternoon. Post time is 4:05 p.m.

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