09/30/2017 11:43PM

The Red Mile: Rookie pacers in the spotlight in Bluegrass contests

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Nigel Soult
I'm A Big Deal was one of two Bluegrass winners sent out by trainer Chris Ryder

Two-year-old pacers of both sexes took their turn in Bluegrass Stakes events on Saturday night at The Red Mile.  The colts went for $75,500 in each of their contests, while the fillies were divided up into three $87,400 dashes.

The action for the boys kicked off with I'm A Big Deal (David Miller) scoring in 1:51 3/5, a new lifetime mark.  He made a first-over move into the lead just past the 57 second half, then turned back a first-up try from Somebaddude (Marcus Miller) to the 1:24 3/5 three-quarters.  I'm A Big Deal got away from the field turning for home and cruised to the wire, winning by a length and three-quarters over Shadow Cat (Corey Callahan).  Bounding Dragon (Peter Wrenn) was up for third.

Trainer Chris Ryder also co-owns I'm A Big Deal, a colt by Somebeachsomewhere, with partners Craig Henderson and Robert Mondillo.  This was I'm A Big Deal's third victory from eight attempts, and he has now pocketed $55,010.  I'm A Big Deal, the first foal out of the world champion McArdle mare Big McDeal ($818,544), was bred by Steve Jones and fetched $300,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.  I'm A Big Deal paid $5.40 to win as the 8-5 favorite.

In the second colt group 4-5 favorite Closing Statement (David Miller) overtook Nutcracker Sweet (Tim Tetrick) for the point prior to the 55 3/5 half-mile marker, and Closing Statement would then reached three-quarters in 1:23 2/5.  Closing Statement would bring the field into the lane, but Nutcracker Sweet pulled to the outside and went around him with an eighth of a mile to go, then pulled steadily clear to take a two length victory in 1:50 3/5, giving him a new speed badge.  Closing Statement had to settle for second and Keystone Tenacious (Mark MacDonald) finished third.

Nutcracker Sweet, a Bettor's Delight colt, is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, and Richard Lombardo.  Nutcracker Sweet, bred by Birnam Wood Farms and taken out of the Standardbred Horse Sale for $150,000, has a trio of triumphs from eight trips behind the gate, and he shows $85,166 in earnings.  Nutcracker Sweet is out of the Falcons Future mare Sweet Future, making him a half-brother to Sweet Lou (Yankee Cruiser, $3,478,894) and a full brother to Bettor Sweet ($2,782,353).  Nutcracker Sweet returned $5.20 to win as the 8-5 second choice.

Points North (Andrew McCarthy) stretched a win streak to five after winning the third colt test in 1:52 4/5.  He led at the 28 4/5 first quarter, briefly let favorite Grand Teton (MacDonald) clear, and then was back out and on the move to regain the front prior to the 56 1/5 half.  Points North then sailed through three-quarters in 1:25 1/5, and a 27 3/5 final kicker got him to the finish line a head to the good over Grand Teton.  Rockin Away (Tetrick) checked in third.

Nifty Norman trains Points North, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, for owner/breeder Pinske Stables.  Points North, who is out of the Western Hanover mare Northwest Hanover ($341,415), has put away $75,050 from nine efforts and he paid $7.00 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

Rounding out the colt winners was 4-5 favorite This Is The Plan, who gave Tetrick and Ryder their second wins thanks to a 1:52 4/5 performance.  This Is The Plan made a first-over move from fifth to challenge leader Twin B Tuffenuff (Brett Miller) at the 1:26 three-quarters, and after battling side-by-side through the lane, This Is The Plan prevailed by three-parts of a length.  Pro Beach (Yannick Gingras) and Twin B Tuffenuff dead-heated for second.

Ryder also co-owns This Is The Plan, a Somebeachsomewhere gelding, with partner Robert Mondillo.  This Is The Plan, who was bred by Moni Market Breeders and fetched $90,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, has won twice from nine starts and he has $149,149 in the bank.  This Is The Plan is out of the Western Ideal mare That's The Plan ($161,740), and he returned $3.60 to win.

Rainbow Room (David Miller) was 1-5 in the first section for the fillies, and she would take over the lead from Kissin In The Sand (Gingras) on the way to the 55 4/5 half.  Rainbow Room would go on to reach three-quarters in 1:23 4/5, but Gingras brought his charge back to the outside in the lane, and she would wear down Rainbow Room late in the mile, winning by half a length in a career-best 1:51.  Majorsspeciallady (Tetrick) was third.Nigel SoultKissin In The Sand passes Rainbow Room to win

"She's got a lot of speed, and she's very quick out of the hole as we saw tonight," said winning trainer Nancy Johansson.  "Finally she got a trip that worked out for her, and I think she just likes the bigger track.  It gives her a little bit more options."

The victorious Somebeachsomewhere filly is trained by Johansson for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables.  Kissin In The Sand sports a record of 4-1-1 from nine efforts, and she has put away $116,748.  Kissin In The Sand, who was bought for $130,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, was bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine Inc. and Concord Stud Farm LLC. and is out of the Real Artist mare Kiss Me Kate ($283,839), a full sister to Kikikatie ($1,268,463) and a half-sister to Katie Said (Well Said, $506,476).  Kissin In The Sand paid $9.00 to win.

Gingras also won the second filly test with Sansovina Hanover in 1:53 1/5.  Sansovina Hanover was fourth through fractions of 29 1/5 and 56 2/5 set by Cuts Like A Knife (Brett Miller) and KJ's Bekah (Tetrick), then moved to the outside in the third quarter and picked up the cover of Cuts Like A Knife when she popped out of the pocket at the 1:25 2/5 three-quarters.  KJ's Bekah was able to hold off Cuts Like A Knife, but Gingras brought his filly three-wide, and she would surge by en route to a one and three-quarter length score.  KJ's Bekah wound up second, and Betterthangraduate (Matt Kakaley), who was eighth and last at the half, brushed into third.

Ron Burke trains Sansovina Hanover, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC., Silva, Purnel & Libby, Michelle Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.  Sansovina Hanover, who was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. and was acquired for $70,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, has a pair of triumphs from nine efforts, and she has earned $78,520.  Sansovina Hanover is the second foal out of the Western Terror mare Shacked Up ($1,390,789).  She was the 2-1 second choice and returned $6.40 to win.

The final filly event saw Strong Opinion (Kakaley) in the lead through stations of 28 1/5, 56 2/5, and 1:24 4/5, but Bye Hanover (David Miller), who had sat third on the rail throughout, came with a surge up the cones that carried her to a one and a quarter length score in a career-best 1:52 2/5.  Strong Opinion was the runner-up, followed by Alexa's Power (Scott Zeron).

A filly by Well Said, Bye Hanover is trained by Brian Brown for owners Richard Lombardo, Rbh Ventures Inc., Joe Sbrocco, and Hutchison Harness LLC.  She is now a two-time winner from nine tries, and she has now banked $107,248.  Bye Hanover, bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc., was purchased for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is the second foal out of Beachbunny Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere), whose dam is the great Bunny Lake (Precious Bunny, $2,843,476).  Bye Hanover was dispatched at 9-2 and paid $11.60 to win.