06/26/2014 10:19AM

Pocono: Rough seas ahead for Captaintreacherous in Ben Franklin final

Derick Giwner
Captaintreacherous has earned over $3 million in his career.

A pair of captains are retiring at the end of their 2014 seasons. While it is hard to compare man to horse, both Derek Jeter and Captaintreacherous have displayed the intangibles and sheer determination ingrained in all winning athletes, human or equine. While Jeter’s athletic prowess has seen better days, the other captain is still in his prime and will look to prove his mettle once again from a difficult outside post in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free-For-All at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs on Saturday.

Regardless of his success as a 4-year-old, Captaintreacherous has already cemented his place as a top pacer. With a stellar 22-for-28 career record and $3,029,536 earned for the ownership group Captaintreacherous Racing, the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Worldly Treasure has little left to prove. Or does he?

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The moniker of greatness, which up to recent years has been measured mostly through a horses’ accomplishments in their first two years of racing, has been extended now that competing as a 4-year-old is required for a horse’s progeny to be eligible for many of the major stakes races. So, while Captaintreacherous has earned respect, the Tony Alagna trainee has the unique opportunity this year to vault himself into the conversation as one of the greatest pacers in history.

What separates the good from the great is class. It goes beyond pure speed and is more a measure of a horse’s intestinal fortitude. Captaintreacherous has the will to win and has displayed that characteristic time and time again.

Tim Tetrick, who has driven “Captain” in all of his starts, is hard-pressed to find a horse with more determination. “Anndrovette is like that, but there are not many,” said Tetrick, about the three-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year. “They are not flashy but they find ways to win. Even if you over-race them, they are there at the end.”

Captaintreacherous displayed some of his class in defeat during last week’s elimination for the Franklin. Despite getting parked out for nearly three-eighths of the mile and setting strong fractions on the lead, he battled bravely through the stretch and only lost by about a foot to the horse sitting the pocket behind him.

The task gets even more difficult on Saturday because he’ll start from post eight, statistically the worst post to win from at Pocono this year (6.8%). Making the assignment a bit more difficult according to Tetrick is the presence of four Ron Burke-trained horses starting from posts one to four.

“It definitely isn’t going to be easy with Burke having four horses on the inside,” said Tetrick. “I’m very confident in my horse and I’m not saying he can’t do it, but it is a very tough spot.”

Tetrick sees the Burke trained Sweet Lou as the obvious horse to beat. Coming in with a four-race win streak, the 5-year-old is in peak form but hasn’t exactly had much in the way of competition lately. The son of Yankee Cruiser has led by open lengths in each of his victories.

“Right now [Sweet Lou] can pace in (1):47 and so can we,” said Captaintreacherous’ racing manager Myron Bell. “But he’s never been looked in the eye this year. We’ll see how he handles that.”

Sweet Lou, who races as part of an uncoupled Burke quartet with Bettor’s Edge (PP1), Allstar Legend (PP2) and Foiled Again (PP3), starts from post four in race 11 with Ron Pierce at the helm.

The remainder of the field includes Domethatagain (PP5), who bested Captaintreacherous last week, Bolt The Duer (PP6), Captive Audience (PP7) and Sunshine Beach (PP9).

Captaintreacherous isn’t the only top horse Tetrick will drive on the card. The leading money-winning driver in the country for countless years will steer Market Share in the $100,000 Sun Invitational against the Swedish wonder horse Sebastian K.

Market Share never came close to his rival in a TVG match-up at the Meadowlands on June 20, and while Tetrick admits his horse has some catching up to do, he’s hoping the former Hambletonian winner had a legitimate excuse.

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“I think he is probably a step behind [Sebastian K] right now,” said Tetrick. “He scoped sick coming out of the start at Scioto and I heard he had an easy week (before the TVG). I thought he raced pretty well last week considering the other horse got away with such a soft half,” said Tetrick, referring to the 56-second half set by Sebastian K on the lead.

Market Share starts from post three and Sebastian K from post seven in the Invitational for older trotters, race eight on the 16-race program that features six races for over $100,000 and most of the best horses and drivers in the country.