Pebble Beach, Beach Glass dominate in Progress elims

Dover, DE — The Nov. 23 final of the Progress Pace could very well shape up to be a reprise of the Pepsi North America Cup. Not only did five of the 10 Cup starters qualify for the Progress in Thursday’s (Nov. 17) $35,000 eliminations at Bally’s Dover, but the elimination winners — Pebble Beach and Beach Glass — paved the way for a showdown at the speedway with convincing scores.

Pebble Beach extended his current win streak to five with a stout 1:49.3 win in the second Progress elimination, working to the lead at the bell and evading the closest of his five rivals by a handy 2-1/4 lengths. Todd McCarthy eased the Downbytheseaside colt into the pocket after Birthday (driven by David Miller) pushed to the lead through a :26.3 quarter, but the earner of over $1.7 million surged to the fore shortly thereafter. Birthday yielded for a pocket ride through middle splits of :55 and 1:22.1, but began to gap into the far turn after being headed for second by Mad Max Hanover (Tim Tetrick), who commenced a first-over bid out of fourth on the backstretch.

Mad Max Hanover offered mild pressure to the leader to force the :27.1 third split, but leveled off as Pebble Beach accelerated clear at will. The North America Cup and Breeders Crown champion coasted home with plenty in reserve while a resurgent Mad Max Hanover re-rallied to nab Birthday for second. Energetic Hanover (Dexter Dunn), who failed to fire off the home turn after being forced wide around stalled cover, remained even to finish fourth.

Pebble Beach, pictured in action earlier this season at the Red Mile, won for the fifth time in a row by way of a decisive 1:49.3 score in his Progress Pace elimination. Amanda Stephens photo.

Noel Daley trains 17-time winner Pebble Beach, who paid $2.60 to win, for the Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres, and LAExpressFoderaDeoVolente.

Making his first start back after flipping his palate on Oct. 1 at the Red Mile — and missing the Breeders Crown as a result — Meadowlands Pace winner Beach Glass landed right back in the win column in the first elimination, prevailing by a measured 2-3/4 lengths in 1:50 while in line to Yannick Gingras. The son of Somebeachsomewhere worked to clear Captain Cowboy (Tim Tetrick) midway around the first turn and traveled uncontested from that point on, managing splits of :26.3, :55.1 and 1:22.2. With an eighth of a mile to go, Captain Cowboy broke stride from the pocket, forcing Fourever Boy (Dunn) to check and shoving I Did It Myway (Andy McCarthy) three-wide off the home turn. As a result, Beach Glass was six lengths in front in upper stretch, but Gingras geared the Brent MacGrath trainee down in the final yards of his 11th victory in 17 career starts.

Fourever Boy stayed on well for second, I Did It Myway was a one-paced third, and Captain Cowboy reset in time to preserve fourth place.

Beach Glass, who has banked $985,544, is owned and was bred by the Schooner II Stable of Nova Scotia. He paid $3.20 to win.

The aforementioned top four finishers from each elimination will meet in the $250,000 final, slated as race 12 on Wednesday (Nov. 23). The barrier draw is as follows:

1. Fourever Boy
2. Mad Max Hanover
3. Pebble Beach
4. Captain Cowboy
5. I Did It Myway
6. Energetic Hanover
7. Beach Glass
8. Birthday

Fifth-place finishers Ario Hanover and Vicious have been declared also-eligibles.

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