06/24/2017 11:15PM

Pocono: Downbytheseaside back on top after powerful Hempt elimination victory

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Curtis Salonick
Downbytheseaside re-asserted himself in the 3-year-old pacing colt group with a stout first-over tally in his Hempt elimination

A week removed from the first loss of his year after setting brutal fractions in the North America Cup, Downbytheseaside showed them who is boss as the most impressive winner in three $25,000 eliminations for the Max C. Hempt Memorial at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday (6/24) evening.

Photobombr Hanover took charge off the gate ahead of a nearly-equally speedy Eddard Hanover in the pocket through an opening quarter of 26 seconds. Downbytheseaside would be guided into a seat in third early on before moving to the rim on the second turn.

With the half on the board in 54 1/5, driver Brian Sears went on an all-out attack, going head-to-head with Brett Miller driving Photobombr Hanover around the final turn. As they posted a sizzling 26 4/5 third quarter, Downbytheseaside began to wear down his foe and fended off all comers to post a very game 1:49 2/5 victory.  Donttellmeagain split foes late for second and Eddard Hanover held nicely for third, both securing spots in next Saturday’s $500,000 Final.

“He was a little grabby,” said Sears, who added that he was just glad to get the drive.

Downbytheseaside ($2.60), third in the Cup Final, has now won 13 of 19 career starts for trainer Brian Brown and owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, R Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing.

Things didn’t exactly go quite the same way for the 1-9 public choice trained by Brown in the second elimination. Everyone was expecting North America Cup winner Fear The Dragon to take care of business one week later, but no one told driver Matt Kakaley, who brushed and crushed with Miso Fast in 1:49 2/5.

Summer Side had the early lead with a 27 second opening quarter before Fear The Dragon and David Miller brushed to the front approaching the three-eighths marker. The pair would cruise to the half in 55 4/5 when Miso Fast was uncorked by Kakaley and moved to the front in a matter of a few seconds.

Miso Fast opened up a huge lead with a 26 4/5 third quarter and held safely as Fear The Dragon closed willingly with no shot for second. Funknwaffles made an uncovered move and held for third to advance to the final.

“I think I just caught them sleeping,” said Kakaley about brushing past Fear The Dragon. “He’s a quick-footed horse. He was good in Canada (North America Cup) but just drew bad in the elimination and even worse in the final.”

The Ron Burke-trained Miso Fast won for the second time in seven starts this year for owners Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables. The son of Roll With Joe paid $25.80 to win.

The Hempt kicked off for the night with another huge longshot as Santafe’s Coach took advantage of some early misfortune by the favorites and surged to the lead at the wire in 1:51 1/5.

Boogie Shuffle and Blood Line left strong along with Ozone Blue Chip and Western Joe from the outside. Blood Line would break off the first turn, leaving Boogie Shuffle on the lead ahead of his fellow leavers, who elected to take a seat in behind him. Meanwhile at the back, the favored Every Way Out got spooked by something and made a break.

Boogie Shuffle would control the action through fractions of 26, 54 3/5 and 1:22 2/5 as Western Joe tried to mount a charge around the final turn and towed Santafe’s Coach into the action. A threesome of Boogie Shuffle, Santafe’s Coach and Ozone Blue Chip up the pylons fought to the wire with Anthony Napolitano able to get Santafe’s Coach’s neck up under an all-out drive. Ozone Blue Chip settled for second and Boogie Shuffle held for third, both making the final.

“I’ve been racing him from behind and he’s been responding,” said Napolitano. “He’s a nice little horse that’s underestimated.”

The win by Santafe’s Coach ($45.80) was his fourth in eight starts this year for owners Edward DeRosa, Matthew Iovaldi and Ralph Woythaler. Leo Iordan trains the Bettor’s Delight-sired colt.