09/06/2017 10:57PM

Scioto: Menary, McCarthy aim for Ewart win with Sintra

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Sintra won the Canadian Pacing Derby on September 2.

If trainer Dave Menary has any problem with Sintra, it’s that there aren’t enough days to enjoy the horse.

“He’s the kind of horse I wish I could race eight days a week,” Menary said. “You don’t have too many bad days when you get to take him to the track.”

Sintra, fresh off his win in last week’s Canadian Pacing Derby, leads a group of 10 horses to Saturday’s $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial for older pacers at central Ohio’s Scioto Downs. The 4-year-old gelding will start from post No. 8 with Andy McCarthy sitting in for regular driver Jody Jamieson, who will be racing at Mohawk.

The field, assembled based on career earnings, also includes millionaires McWicked, Check Six, Luck Be Withyou, Boston Red Rocks, and Keystone Velocity. Rounding out the group are Mel Mara, Let’s Drink On It, Rockin Ron, and Night Pro.

Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012.

Last year’s edition of the Ewart was won by Always B Miki in a track-record 1:47, which also equaled the world record for pacing on a five-eighths-mile oval.

Sintra, a son of Mach Three out of the mare Dancin Barefoot, has won eight of 13 races this year and earned $487,607. Jamieson has driven Sintra in every start but one this season. Brett Miller guided Sintra to a six-length win in a preliminary round of the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands in May.

“The horse made a great impression on Brett and I loved the result that night,” Menary said. “I think he will (make a good impression on McCarthy). I wish Andy wasn’t handicapped with a poor starting spot, but hopefully we finish better than where we start.”

Menary owns Sintra with Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. Gray and Denise Guerriero own Pedro Hanover, who McCarthy drove to victory in Monday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers.

“It’s cool,” McCarthy said about being asked to drive Sintra. “I got lucky to pick him up. I’ve watched him race and he’s got a heck of a lot of ability. He got a bad spot with the eight hole, but it looks like there’s going to be a lot of action. We’re just going to have to see how the cards fall and see where we end up.”

The 31-year-old McCarthy set career highs last year with 277 wins and $4.51 million in purses. This year he won the $242,500 Spirit of Massachusetts Stakes with JL Cruze, giving McCarthy the most lucrative open stakes victory of his career so far. He won two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes titles, with 3-year-old female pacer Caviart Ally joining Pedro Hanover, and had two second-place finishes in PaSS finals.

“It’s been a very good year,” said McCarthy, a native of Australia who started driving in the U.S. in 2007. “It feels like it’s starting to all fall into place a little bit.”

Just as it has for Sintra, who gave an indication of his talent last year when he won eight of 16 starts and earned $229,346. Five of the races he lost were won by Betting Line, who was Canada’s Horse of the Year.

“I don’t think you can aim stupid crazy with any 4-year-old, but I’ve always had a lot of confidence in the horse,” Menary said. “I think last year he came closer to beating Betting Line than any other 3-year-old did. He was lightly raced and I put him away in good shape. I was super excited about this year and we’re living the dream right now.

“He makes us all look good. He knows when it’s game time. He’s not the flashiest when training, but when he goes to the gate he’s ready to play. I have great partners on the horse and we’ve had a lot of fun. Hopefully he’s got lots of good days ahead of him.”

The Ewart is race 10, with a 9:30 p.m. estimated post time. The card also includes the $125,000 Jug Preview, race 7, which features multiple-stakes-winner Downbytheseaside in a field of nine. Downbytheseaside, trained by Ohio’s Brian Brown, won last week’s Messenger Stakes and has earned nearly $1 million this year.

Following is the field for the Jim Ewart Memorial in post order with named drivers and trainers.

PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer

1. Mel Mara-Corey Callahan-Dylan Davis

2. Boston Red Rocks-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Steve Elliott

3. McWicked-David Miller-Casie Coleman

4. Let’s Drink On It-Travis Seekman-Joe Seekman

5. Luck Be Withyou-Brett Miller-Chris Oakes

6. Check Six-Chris Page-Ron Burke

7. Rockin Ron-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke

8. Sintra-Andrew McCarthy-David Menary

9. Keystone Velocity-Simon Allard-Rene Allard

*10. Night Pro-Ronnie Wrenn Jr.-Dale Decker

*Night Pro starts in the second tier.

Following is the field for the Jug Preview in post order with named drivers and trainers.

PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer

1. Downbytheseaside-Brian Sears-Brian Brown

2. Sports Column-Brett Miller-Blake MacIntosh

3. Bettor’s Pick-Kayne Kauffman-Ben Davis

4. Filibuster Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke

5. Henry The Dragon-Randy Tharps-Brenda Teague

6. Major Moe-Trace Tetrick-Brian Brown

7. Scotch McEwan-Josh Sutton-Jim Dailey

8. Drunk On Your Love-Dan Noble-Jim Pollock Jr.

9. Thrdthrsdaynsptmbr-Ken Holliday-Sherri Holliday

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