09/25/2014 9:56AM

Red Mile: Antonacci keeps it all in the family

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Trainer Frank Antonacci liked what he saw when he purchased Sonic for $155,000 at last fall’s yearling sale in Lexington. So much so that he was willing to spend another $155,000 on family member Whataworkout a month later in Harrisburg.

On Friday, Antonacci sends the two sons of stallion Muscle Hill into separate Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at The Red Mile. Both will be making their second lifetime starts.

Sonic’s mother is Spice On Ice. Among Spice On Ice’s other offspring is Southwind Sofia, who is the mother of Whataworkout.

“We kind of went all-in on that family,” Antonacci said. “We liked it once, so we might as well like it twice.”

It was actually the third time Antonacci liked the family and its connection with Muscle Hill. On the same day he purchased Sonic, he missed on a Muscle Hill-sired filly named Mission Brief. Her mother is Southwind Serena, who also is out of Spice On Ice.

Mission Brief, who sold for $150,000, won this year’s Merrie Annabelle Stakes in a world-record performance 1:52 2/5 performance, then lowered the mark to 1:52 1/5 in her elimination of the Peaceful Way Stakes.

“I loved Mission Brief when I saw her in Kentucky, which is really the same family,” Antonacci said. “I didn’t get the job done buying her, although we focus more on the colts at the sale anyway.”

And Antonacci is happy with what he’s seen from those colts so far.

Whataworkout won his debut in 1:56 4/5 on Sept. 18 in a division of the Kindergarten Series at The Red Mile. Sonic went off stride from post eight in his Kindergarten split, but Antonacci was unfazed.

“Sonic I think got a little lost from the eight hole,” Antonacci said. “I’m going to give him a pass on his first performance. Hopefully this week (starting) from the rail he’ll be a little more focused.

“Whataworkout was kind of in a messed up race (with horses making breaks) but he showed his professionalism and stayed at it and got the job done.

“They’ve both got big speed and big ability. I think they’ve got a bright future.”

Whataworkout, owned by Lindy Farms of Connecticut, is in the first of five Bluegrass divisions for the rookie trotters, where Peter Haughton Memorial winner Centurion ATM is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Sonic, owned by Lindy Racing, is in the fifth division, where The Bank is the 5-2 morning line choice.

Antonacci also sends out homebred stakes-winner Iron in the fourth division and Mesmerized in the second division.

The twice-raced Iron, a son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Ivory Lindy, is coming off a victory in the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park. He is in the same Bluegrass split as Haughton runner-up Uncle Lasse, New Jersey Sire Stakes champ Guess Whos Back, and New York Sire Stakes champ Crazy Wow.

Iron lost a month of time during the summer because of complications from what was believed to be a spider bite.

“That kind of stalled him out just as we were about to get ready to qualify in July,” Antonacci said. “It was pretty wild. He’s recovered from that and he’s starting to put it all together now.

“We’ve liked him from the beginning and we’re very happy with him. He’s getting better every time we’ve brought him to the track and hopefully he keeps going that way.”

Mesmerized is winless in three starts, but the colt’s mother, Gift Card, won a Bluegrass division in 2008 and is a full sister to Antonacci’s million-dollar-earner Crazed. The homebred Mesmerized faces undefeated Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champ Billy Flynn in his Bluegrass division on Friday.

“We’ve got primarily the same people who owned Crazed with us on him, so that’s nice,” Antonacci said. “He’s just been Steady Eddie. He’s had some races where racing luck didn’t go his way, but he continues to improve. He’s a good gaited, good looking horse. We’re just looking for him to keep improving.”

The remaining Bluegrass Stakes division is headlined by Habitat, who won the William Wellwood Memorial on Sept. 13 at Mohawk Racetrack.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com

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