Day At The Track

Massachusetts Sire Stake eligibles making their mark

01:22 AM 12 Jul 2018 NZST
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Plainville, MA---The Massachusetts Sire Stake (MASS) program continues to grow. Resident harness racing mare numbers are up again and the resulting stake eligible foals continue to increase. This year the connections of the state-bred 2 and 3-year-olds are looking forward to competing for a total of $1.28 million (est.) that will be up for grabs when the series is contested during the month of October.

The success of Plainridge Park Casino has enriched the Standardbred breeding in Massachusetts as a result of the percentage paid to that program through the provisions of the Race Horse Development Fund. The $1.28 million in sire stake purses being offered this year reflects a third consecutive year of increases that are expected to see continued exponential imcreases as the Springfield Casino opens later this year and the Boston Harbor Casino comes online in 2019.

The 2018 MASS dates are:

Monday (Oct 1) 2-year-old First Leg ($25,000 added); Tuesday (Oct 2) 3-year-old First Leg ($25,000 added); Monday (Oct 8) 2-year-old Second Leg ($25,000 added); Tuesday (Oct 9) 3-year-old Second Leg ($25,000 added); Monday (Oct 22) 2-year-old Third Leg ($25,000 added); Tuesday (Oct 23) 3-year-old Third Leg ($25,000 added) and Tuesday (Oct 30) 2 & 3-year-old Finals ($85,000 est.)

The first year starters are getting their season's underway now and some are doing well in other racing jurisdictions already.

2-year-old pacing filly Karan's Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) has been training in Ontario under the supervision of Michael Keeling and just recently broke her maiden while taking a lifetime mark of 1:57.2 in a conditioned race at Georgian Downs on June 30. She has been sustained in the lucrative Ontario Sire Stakes (OSS) program will be a contender in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) later this year.

The filly was bred and is owned by Alfred Ross of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

The George Ducharme trained 2-year-old trotting colt Jake G's Champion (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) has already made a start in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Buffalo, finishing second in 2:02.4. He looks to be a solid contender in his class off that first start and will also be one to watch in the MASS come October.

Ray Campbell Jr. of Belchertown, Massachusetts bred and owns this prospect.

Ross and Campbell teamed up in ownership with the Ducharme trained 2-year-old trotting colt Precision (Muscle Hill-Bourbon N Grits) who made a break at the wire in a 2-year-old qualifying start at the Meadowlands that saw him still trot in 1:57.3 with a :27.3 last panel. He has since qualified again at Vernon Downs in 2:00.1, winning by 11-lengths. He is a three-quarter brother to Hambletonian champion RC Royalty and is a prospect that bears watching as he moves forward this stake season in both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

The 3-year-old class of Massachusetts-breds left their mark in the record book last year during their freshmen season as new stake records were taken on both gaits and for both sexes. All four horses are currently back in action and hopefully working their way back to this year's finals as well.

Twelve (Shady Character-Sabine Hanover) won two divisions of the MASS, tying the stake record of 1:56 for 2-year-old colt pacers last year before finishing fourth in the final. This year Twelve is off to a stellar start, having already won two consecutive legs of the 3-year-old Maine Sire Stakes (MSS) for male pacers at Scarborough Downs and Bangor Raceway and he took both by open lengths.

Dean Malin owns Twelve who is trained and driven by Eddie Davis Jr.

Delco Dusty (Jereme's Jet-Gypsy's Good Girl) destroyed the standard at two, winning a MASS leg in 1:53. In returning to the track this year she had a very sharp qualifier in May at Hoosier Park, winning in 1:55.4 by eight lengths and pacing her back half in :55.4. Unfortunately after that race she suffered an injury that pushed the start of her year back some. Since coming back to Plainridge she has now qualified again and finished second in her first race of the season on June 29.

Jesse De Long of Clinton, Wisconsin owns Delco Dusty who is trained by Jim Nickerson.

Hashtagmadeyalook (Chapter Seven-Royalty Free) was the 2-year-old male trotting champion in the Commonwealth last year and posted a stake best 1:56.3 in the process. He has come back better than ever, already beating his career mark with a 1:55.4 clocking. Hashtagmadeyalook has made starts in the NYSS and Excel A series as well, winning his last outing in that group at Goshen, New York in 1:56.3. His remaining engagements in the Empire State will have him sharp as ever when he returns to Plainridge for the MASS fall classic there.

Ray Campbell Jr. bred and owns Hashtagmadeyalook who is trained by George Ducharme and has been driven primarily by Scott Zeron this year.

Campbell and Ducharme also have started Bag O Chips (Sierra Kosmos-Heather Spur) back this year after claiming the title of best 2-year-old trotting filly in 2017 and setting the new mark of 1:57.3 in that stake. However her season has gotten off to a slow start this year and as a result, her first race just came at Vernon Downs in an overnight on July 7.

Other returning 3-year-olds to watch include Kinda Lucky Lindy and Ithinkthatsmine.

Lindy Farms of Connecticut's Kinda Lucky Lindy (Lucky Chucky-Kinda Crazy Lindy) was Hashtagmadeyalook's main rival in the MASS last year, beating him twice before finishing second twice as well. But he also spent some time on the Grand Circuit and this year, seems to have taken a major step forward. After making starts in the NYSS and an elimination of the Empire Breeders Classic in May, Kinda Lucky Lindy came back to Plainridge and won two overnights in a row, taking a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 in the process. That knocked almost four seconds off his old mark.

The trotting filly Ithinkthatsmine (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) is another from the Campbell/Ducharme team and she has come back sharp, already winning three races this year; two of which came in NYSS Excel A action. She also took a new lifetime mark of 1:56.1 at Tioga Downs where she won by seven lengths. The filly competes well over any size track and has succeeded with a number of different drivers and that versatility will keep her competitive all year.

Other MASS eligibles have qualified or are racing at tracks around the country now, but they all will be focused on being at their best come the beginning of October.

For more information about the Massachusetts Standardbred breeding and Sire Stake programs log onto www.sominc.net.

by Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts

 
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