10/03/2013 12:09PM

Red Mile: Sears hoping for some luck with Vegas Vacation in the Tattersalls

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Derick Giwner
Little Brown Jug champion Vegas Vacation will have to beat Captaintreacherous to win the Tattersalls.

Driver Brian Sears is sitting on a pair of aces on Saturday afternoon at the Red Mile. His mounts in the split Tattersalls Pace both landed the pole positions. Despite the good fortune, Sears was playing his hand close to the vest when informed of his lucky break.

“There’s only seven in the field,” Sears said. “That’s not good.”

The driver was speaking specifically about Vegas Vacation, the recent straight-heat victor in the Little Brown Jug. The sophomore son of Bettors Delight landed the rail in the $215,500 first Tattersalls division, race six of a dozen on the program.  The reason for his concern was the presence of the top-rated Captaintreacherous in the same division.

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“We’re going to need some help,” Sears said in deference to the talented colt and the difficulty beating a horse that has lost just once in 10 starts as a three-year-old, and that by a nostril.

Vegas Vacation is clearly no slouch and Sears had high praise for the sophomore with nine wins in 15 starts this year. On the positive side the driver believes that the mile track will definitely pick up his horse.

“He really didn’t handle the turns that well at Delaware,” said Sears. Despite his limitation on the curves, Vegas Vacation was not only able to capture the first jewel in pacing’s Triple Crown with back-to-back 1:50 miles, he did so while coming from off the pace.

Some have suggested that Vegas Vacation has enough early speed to cut the pace but Sears is not on that list. He knows the horse can leave “OK” but appeared to doubt a front-end attempt in the short field.

With Captaintreacherous landing post five and Sunshine Beach, the Battle of the Brandywine winner (with Sears in the bike that night) over Captaintreacherous landing post seven, the stage is set for a battle. Tim Tetrick handles “The Captain” and John Campbell is back in the bike behind Sunshine Beach after capturing a Bluegrass division last Saturday in 1:48 2/5.

Yet Sears was wise to understand that horses like Captaintreacherous don’t come along very often. He seemed to recognize that a 1:47 1/5 mile, taken a week ago in the Bluegrass, was legitimate. While he may have had fortune to defeat Captaintreacherous at Mohegan Sun at Pocono, the Red Mile doesn’t offer the protection of having to race around tight turns. It also is a track that favors closers.

With $806,287 in the bank this year, Vegas Vacation is among the elite in the division. Yet without the controlling speed, the gelding will need some racing luck to go his way and that may be hard to come by with Captaintreacherous likely to be pointed towards the front to avoid bad racing luck.

Sunshine Beach, although victorious on the front end last week, is a Somebeachsomewhere colt that also has not shown the talent to cut out a mile. On the other side we have Captaintreacherous. The $2.4 million career earner showed blistering speed at the Red Mile last week, carving out fractions of :26 4/5, :52 4/5 and 1:20 2/5 on his way to posting the stunning 1:47 1/5 effort.

The Tattersalls sets up as the final prep for the Breeders Crown and perhaps Vegas Vacation and Sunshine Beach will have more of a chance tackling Captaintreacherous on the five-eighths mile track than they will on Saturday.

In the second $215,500 Tattersalls division, race 10, Sears will guide New York Sire Stakes champion Fool Me Once from the pole position and should be the public choice off the strength of 10 victories this year in but 14 starts. Mark Austin trains the son of Art Major that owns a 1:48 1/5 personal best taken at Mohawk this year.

Joining Fool Me Once in this division is Adios winner Sunfire Blue Chip, in search of his first major sophomore score since that effort in late July at The Meadows. Sunfire Blue Chip drew post four for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. The colt finished fourth last week while chasing Captaintreacherous.

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Trainer Tony Alagna will send out Wake Up Peter from post five in this division. Despite going winless this year, the son of Rocknroll Hanover has earned $276,131 in 14 starts. Ron Pierce guides Wake Up Peter, third to Sunshine Beach in last week’s Bluegrass stakes.

Grand Circuit racing commences at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with the Red Mile’s meet concluding with the Kentucky Futurity featured on its Sunday afternoon card.