08/02/2014 5:16PM

Meadowlands: Lifetime Pursuit upsets in Hambletonian Oaks

Nikki Sherman
An elated Yannick Gingras soars to Hambo Oaks glory.

Racing without shoes has come in vogue this year and on Saturday Lifetime Pursuit left her shoes in the barn and lightened the load considerably. The daughter of Cantab Hall shattered the stakes record capturing the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks in dramatic fashion.

Driver Yannick Gingras was already on his way to a big afternoon pre-Hambletonian and he overcame post seven with a quick move to the front in a blistering :26 3/5 opening quarter. The driver allowed stablemate Shake It Cerry to make a move to the front after the quarter and sat patiently behind the second choice through a :55 1/5 half mile clocking.

Race favorite Designed To Be and driver Brian Sears got caught inside early again but managed to flush cover from Heaven’s Door and driver Ake Svanstedt moving to the half. Shake It Cerry and driver Ron Pierce kept the pace lively kicking three quarters in 1:23 2/5 as the outer flow began to stall.

In the homestretch Gingras wasted little time in popping the pocket and the Jimmy Takter-trained filly exploded to go right past Shake It Cerry and stroll to a two and a half-length triumph as a 10-1 proposition in a 1:50 4/5 mile, a world record.

Designed To Be kicked in late off cover for second with Take The Money holding on to the show spot.

“Jimmy (Takter) pulled the shoes and that was the difference,” said Gingras after the winning steer.

Lifetime Pursuit, bred and owned by Brittany Farms, won for the third time in eight starts this year. According to her driver she was a bit of a tricky filly to drive and needed the right kind of trip to get the job done.

On Saturday Gingras and Lifetime Pursuit were at their best with the driver in perfect position and the filly was primed to eclipse Bee A Magician’s stakes mark by a full second.

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