09/19/2015 11:16PM

Bergman: Mission Brief highlighted a big night for Gingras

New Image Media
Three-year-old Mission Brief trotted just one-fifth of a second slower than the best older trotters on Saturday.

After completing a sweep of the 3-year-old trotting stakes at Mohawk on Saturday night Yannick Gingras had to be feeling good. Going into the night Gingras’ expectations were already high, having the assignment behind division leaders Mission Brief and Pinkman. Both were victorious on Saturday night but clearly one was special. Mission Brief, Gingras’ choice to drive in the Hambletonian second heat, stamped herself as the best 3-year-old on this night.

Trainer Jimmy Takter confirmed that Pinkman’s next start would be in the Kentucky Futurity on October 10. Perhaps the extra time off will help sharpen the Hambletonian champion. Though Pinkman won on Saturday he got the benefit of some very soft fractions and Gingras appeared to need urging to get him to the wire in a 1:53 3/5 clocking.

The ease at which Mission Brief hit the half in 55 2/5 and there quarters in 1:23 3/5 was mind boggling over a surface that was yielding nothing at Mohawk on Saturday night. The 1:52 4/5 mile “With Earplugs In” according to the driver served notice that this girl has worn out her welcome against fillies and belongs with the best sophomores of this generation, period!

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Watch entire Jugette & Little Brown Jug day cards live on DRF next week]

Mission Brief’s owners get the chance to make the next call and they would be hard pressed after watching the colts in action at Mohawk not to give the daughter of Muscle Hill a shot at The Red Mile.

At the moment, Mission Brief appears to be the only one in this age group capable of trotting in 1:50 or better.

It was a big night for Burke, Muscle Hill and Gingras with Southwind Frank continuing his dominance over the 2-year-old colt trotting division. Now with eight wins in nine starts Southwind Frank has first year earnings in excess of a half-million dollars.

When Caprice Hill captured the Peaceful Way for juvenile trotting fillies her owner Tom Hill joked about what Yannick Gingras had told him after driving the daughter of Kadabra earlier this season. “She’s like Mission Brief with brains,” Hill said Gingras told him. Considering she trotted in 1:56 1/5 off a perfect trip, brains aside, Caprice Hill has a long way to go if she’s ever going to reach the company of Mission Brief.

It’s hard to believe that only one horse from the United States racing in North America will be invited into the $1 million International Trot. That said, Saturday’s Maple Leaf Trot victory by the already invited Bee A Magician makes the decision that much more difficult. Resolve did absolutely everything right to win the prestigious event for aged trotters but in the end it was a study of drivers rather than horses.

Brian Sears was grateful to get a three-hole trip behind Resolve as J L Cruze tried to cut the pace again. Sears clearly knew that Ake Svanstedt driving Resolve would get antsy in the pocket and pull well before the three-quarters. Resolve pulled and Sears followed him perfectly into the stretch. While Svanstedt was active, urging his 4-year-old by Muscle Hill forward, Sears sat motionless and looked towards Svanstedt as if to say, “no need to hit him so hard you’re going to finish second anyway.”

Bee A Magician doesn’t blow anyone away but she routinely finds the winner’s circle.

Resolve certainly has been the sharpest U.S.-bred horse racing over the last month, with two solid wins and two narrow losses. Considering there are a host of horses already invited to the Yonkers International Trot with limited credentials, Resolve should get the final invite.