08/21/2017 3:38PM

Bergman: No respect for sophomore pacing star Agent Q

Lisa Photo
Agent Q and driver Dave Miller.

As a journalist I try not to look at polls as true indicators. Yet sometimes you have to wonder what others are thinking about. More specifically, it was hard to quantify the validity of the week 11 Hambletonian Society-Breeders Crown Top Ten poll since it appeared to be missing one horse that should by the merits of her accomplishments be no worse than Top Five. Her name is Agent Q.

There is no way to get into the minds of others and rationally understand why the exclusion, but what drew attention this time around was the sudden appearance of Blazin Britches into the select group while somehow Agent Q, the clear sophomore pacing filly division leader, was missing.

Agent Q has been the best sophomore pacing filly in North America this year bar none. Take nothing away from Blazin Britches, who simply crushed her rivals on Hambletonian Day. That Brian Brown-trained daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven may prove in the same league with Agent Q after a few more significant stakes victories. It’s just that Agent Q has been doing this for nearly two racing seasons and has met and conquered the best in the division, more recently starting to distance herself from those expected to be her rivals.

You’d hate to think there is any personal bias against Agent Q. Her appearance in the Mistletoe Shalee was clouded with suspicion as her trainer Aaron Lambert was relegated to the sidelines. Chris Ryder’s name was substituted for her inclusion in the stakes events at the East Rutherford track. Lambert’s name missing shouldn’t have had any impact on the performance and it didn’t as Agent Q dominated her rivals in the Shalee in the same manner she did in the Lynch at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono a few weeks earlier.

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Agent Q won her fourth straight race against premier competition this past Saturday at the aforementioned track in the Poconos and cast aside rivals Bettor’s Up (Fan Hanover winner) and Idyllic Beach with something to spare. Scott Zeron substituted for driver David Miller who was in Cleveland and put his filly on the front to stay passing the stands the first time. Her 1:50 4/5 effort got the attention of her driver. “Scott told me he thought she was done and then she just kicked into another gear,” said Aaron Lambert.

“You can race her any way you want and she’ll respond,” said Lambert of the one-time $25,000 yearling purchase that with each victory is getting closer and closer to a seven-figure career bank account. “The owners picked her out. I think the pedigree was there but perhaps she was a little on the small side.”

Her victory in the Lynch, in my opinion, was perhaps her best race as David Miller took her on a long uncovered bid and devoured her rivals into the homestretch. That victory was followed up with an equally impressive 1:48 4/5 victory in the Mistletoe Shalee where once again Miller let her dawdle on the outside as the pace accelerated and called on her for maximum performance in the stretch.

With 19 career starts, Agent Q has won nine times and finished second nine times. That’s incredible consistency.

She put in a big mile in the Lismore at Yonkers in May but was rolled over by Tequila Monday on that occasion.

“I think she has raced great in every start,” said Lambert, defending the early season loss. “I was trying to get her set up for the Fan Hanover. With the half-mile track you can draw poorly or get a bad trip.”

Since the Lismore loss, Agent Q was on the losing end of the Fan Hanover by a nose as hometown favorite Bettor’s Up took the lead and wouldn’t relinquish it. Agent Q has more than avenged that defeat and with each start appears to be getting stronger.

Despite the inexpensive yearling price, it’s hard to look at the pedigree of Agent Q and not think she has the genetic makeup to be a star. Her dam Teenage Paige was a rugged race mare that won in 1:50 and earned nearly $380K. Her second dam Paige Nicole Q was a Breeders Crown champion and earned $712K. Her fourth dam Madam Madusa was a full sister to Arties Dream, one of the fastest 2-year-olds I’d ever seen when he debuted in 1980.

Lambert believes there are sound reasons for Agent Q’s development this year. “We put her away when she was 110 percent,” said Lambert. “Her last start as a 2-year-old was her best race.” That last race was the Breeders Crown and Agent Q overcame post 10 and closed with a furious rush to miss by a scant nose of taking home the title. Her determination has never been questioned and this year she’s getting better each week.

“We’re going to race her in the last leg of the Sire Stakes,” said Lambert. “Then hopefully go in the final.”

Agent Q will be looking to sweep both the freshman (2016) and sophomore Pennsylvania Championships with a scheduled start at The Meadows on August 26 and the $260,000 finale at Harrah’s Philadelphia on September 3.

Schedules will keep Agent Q away from Blazin Britches for the time being but the two could finally meet on the racetrack for the first time in September if connections both enter the Nadia Lobell at Hoosier Park on September 13. That race is a week before the Jugette, a race that Blazin Britches is eligible to but Agent Q is not.

Both fillies could have a date with destiny on October 27 in the Breeders Crown final.

For now Agent Q has positioned herself as the best filly in North America. Her trainer believes her future is indeed bright. “I think she has the talent to step up and do very well as a 4-year-old,” Lambert said.

Hopefully by then Agent Q will no longer be a secret to some.

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