Volume Eight strikes at high price in International Stallion Stakes

Lexington, KY — Shoes came off Volume Eight and he threw down the gauntlet to pull a 38-1 upset in the second of three $96,800 International Stallion Stake divisions for freshman trotting colts and geldings on Friday afternoon (Oct. 7) at The Red Mile.

Volume Eight was a 1:52.1 winner. Amanda Stephens photo.

Driver Andy McCarthy motored Volume Eight from post seven to the top and soon settled for the pocket when Gates Hanover circled to lead approaching a :29 first quarter. The Noel Daley-trained son of Chapter Seven drafted through a :57.1 half and stayed put as Winner’s Bet stalled first over on the rim around the final turn.

Past three-quarters in 1:25.1, Gates Hanover came under pressure as McCarthy eased Volume Eight from the pegs and vaulted clear to a 2-1/2 length win over a levelled-out Winner’s Bet with French Wine rallying for third and Upstaged grabbing fourth.

“(He’s) still a little green, but I knew he had a lot of speed,” Andy McCarthy said after the race. “And then sir Noel said today ‘Maybe just leave with him and see what happens.’ I’m like, ‘Oh I’ll check it out,’ but then I went out and I’d seen he was barefoot; I went, ‘Yep, let’s do it.’”

Co-owner John Fodera also said, “I was just hoping to get a check. I know Noel and Andy really like the horse a lot — always raising them comfortably and teaching them — but I think he learned a lot today just leaving out of there and having that gate speed and finishing even better. So it was a shock to me.”

Returning $79.94 to win, the victory counts as the third from five starts in Volume Eight’s career, which now places his bankroll at $79,815 for owners Noel Daley, Joe Sbrocco, LA Express & JAF Racing and Mario Mazza. He won the ISS split named “The Six Pack”, presented by the Six Pack Syndicate and Deo Volente Farms.

With 9-5 favorite Kilmister breaking stride at the start, Excalibur Bi capitalized to score a 1:53 victory in the first ISS division.

Also in rein to Andy McCarthy, Excalibur Bi swept to the top from third after a :27.4 first quarter to pocket early leader Purple Lord. The Thomas Cancelliere-trained son of Muscle Hill cruised up the backside to a :57.4 half and quickened proceedings to three-quarters in 1:26.2 before straightening for the sprint home and uncorking a :26.3 final quarter to win by a length. Purple Lord settled for second with Point Of Perfect third and Cecil Hanover finishing fourth.

“Yeah, he was good, he’s been coming along great,” Andrew McCarthy said after the race. “Tom (Cancelliere) has done a great job with him. It’s has always been a ‘no pressure’ deal with it, just bring him along the way. He thinks right, and I probably over-drove him a couple of starts back and figured out we need to reset. But it was good the way it worked out today, I got to use him (and) save him until the back half.”

Excalibur Bi competes for owner John Cancelliere. He won his second race from eight starts and has now banked $126,530. He paid $5.68 to win in the ISS division named “The Muscle Hill”, presented by the Muscle Hill Syndicate and Southwind Farms.

Espresso landed back-to-back Grand Circuit victories when slipping up the cones to take the third ISS division in 1:54.

Crown, the 4-5 favorite, charged to the top while Espresso obliged to race in the slipstream through a :28.3 first quarter. Little pressure mounted on Crown up the backside with Prince Of Honor steadily angling off the pegs but only minorly advancing after a :57.4 half and to three-quarters in 1:26.2. Turning for home, Crown began drifting from the pylons, which created a wide-enough gap for Espresso to spurt through and grab the lead in the final sixteenth. Crown settled for second, beaten a head, with Kierkegaard K taking third and Herodotus finishing fourth.

“We love coming down here and racing at The Red Mile with a dual eligible horse,” winning trainer Julie Miller said after the race. “We decided to bring him here instead of the New York circuit, and he’s just really matured and just loving the track here.”

Winning his fifth race from nine starts, Espresso has now earned $210,900 for owners Andy Miller Stable, Louis Willinger, Mortgage Boys Stable and L Berg Inc. The Chapter Seven gelding returned $7.94 to win in taking the ISS division named “The Chapter Seven”, presented by the Chapter Seven Syndicate and Blue Chip Farms.

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