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Dover Downs: Heston Blue Chip posts 1:48 track record in Matron
By Jay Bergman
It may have taken a wedding to remove Tim Tetrick from the sulky, but George Brennan put his own stamp on the $176,664 Matron Stakes on Sunday night at Dover, guiding Heston Blue Chip to a track record 1:48 performance in the colt’s final race of 2012.
Owner Kenneth Jacobs proclaimed his colt the best in the division in the winner’s circle and perhaps the stunning performance will not only garner the son of American Ideal votes for divisional honors, but could earn him attention as a potential Pacer of the Year.
Brennan, subbing for Tetrick, who had guided Heston Blue Chip the entire season, did a spectacular job leaving from post four. With last week’s elimination winner Hillbilly Hanover and Yannick Gingras on his outside and Bolt The Duer with Mark MacDonald on his inside, Brennan cleverly tucked in front of second choice Thinking Out Loud before the quarter.
Hillbilly Hanover seized control from Bolt The Duer before the opening :25 4/5 quarter and once the dust had settled Brennan wasted little time in moving the 1-2 favorite to the front.
Heston Blue Chip clicked the half in :53 4/5, which appeared fast at the time, but once put under a first-over assault by Thinking Out Loud and John Campbell, Brennan showed why he earned the nickname “The Minister of Speed.” Heston Blue Chip took off with a magnificent acceleration on the backstretch and forced his rival to duck inside for cover hitting the third quarter in an eye-popping 1:20 1/5.
Any thoughts Campbell may have had about coming and challenging Heston Blue Chip were reserved until the late stages. But there was simply no catching him on this night, as the colt set his own personal speed standard with a final quarter in :27 4/5.
Brennan praised trainer Linda Toscano in the winner’s circle.
“Linda has done such a great job with her entire stable this year. She certainly deserves all of the credit,” said Brennan.
As for hopping aboard Heston Blue Chip cold after facing him as a two and three-year-old, the driver thought it rather easy.
“He’s been beating me for two years, I certainly got to know him pretty well before tonight,” said Brennan.
Thinking Out Loud was about a half-length off the winner in second with Escape The News earning third money. Bolt The Duer and Hillbilly Hanover earned the final checks from the race.
The trainer equated her marvelous 2012 campaign that included likely champions Chapter Seven and Market Share to winning the recent Powerball.
“I will be more than happy to step aside next year and root for another trainer to have this kind of success,” said Toscano.
“We’ll turn him out after this race and give him three months rest before bringing him back,” said Jacobs following the race. “This was a very competitive group of three year olds and I look forward to him racing against them again as four-year-olds.”
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