11/11/2012 9:43AM

Yonkers: Bolt The Duer wins Messenger Stakes

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Derick Giwner
Bolt The Duer and Mark MacDonald won the Messenger, the third jewel in pacing's Triple Crown

Driver Mark MacDonald got a chance to qualify Bolt The Duer at Yonkers Raceway in April and at that time asked trainer Peter Foley to put him down to drive wherever the three-year-old raced. Foley followed the script and on Saturday at Yonkers, MacDonald rewarded him and owners All Star Racing Inc. by capturing the $415,820 Messenger Stakes, the third jewel in the pacing Triple Crown.

MacDonald knew how fast and handy the son of Ponder was from the moment he sat behind him and Saturday’s victory was a case study of the driver understanding what trip best suited the sophomore son of Ponder.

The pair left alertly from post five with 3-2 favorite Hillbilly Hanover and driver Jim Morrill Jr. pushing out as hard from the rail as they possibly could. Bolt The Duer had the front off the first turn and kept a rapid clip until yielding to Pet Rock and driver George Brennan at the :27 flat opening quarter.

The pocket trip is one that Bolt The Duer proved worked best for him back in late July when he captured the Adios at The Meadows and MacDonald was more than happy to oblige the colt on Saturday. Pet Rock and Brennan did their part of maintaining a rated pace of :56 1/5 and 1:23 4/5 with Pet Rock shrugging off a challenge from A Rocknroll Dance through the third quarter.

In the homestretch MacDonald guided his colt through the passing lane inside of Pet Rock and was able to wear that colt down and score by a half-length as the 2-1 second choice. The time for the mile was a crisp 1:51 2/5 making it the fastest Messenger over a half-mile track in the race’s 57-year history. Hillbilly Hanover finished third.

Morrill had the rail in both Yonkers features and he used it to perfect advantage in the $229,440 Lady Maud for three-year-old filly pacers. Driving Bettor B Lucky, a New York-bred by Bettors Delight, Morrill managed to work out a pocket trip behind pacesetter Economy Terror. That filly cut bold fractions of :27 2/5, :56 2/5 and 1:24 keeping race favorite Romantic Moment parked the final half and well off the leaders. In the stretch, Morrill had to steady the filly while angling her to the outside but once in gear Bettor B Lucky rallied gamely to edge Economy Terror and Handsofmycookie in a blanket finish. Bettor B Lucky set a new Lady Maud speed mark of 1:52 1/5 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, W. Donovan and L. Karr. Bettor B Lucky returned $9.90 for a $2 wager.

Speed was in great supply north of the border on Saturday night with Woodbine hosting the Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final spectacular, eight $300,000 events for each two and three-year-old division. Bee A Magician completed her incredible season scoring in a track mark of 1:53 4/5 for two-year-old trotting fillies. The victory pushed driver Rick Zeron over the $100 million plateau in earnings for horses he has driven through his career. The daughter of Kadabra, recently third with no real chance in the Breeders Crown, posted the fastest trotting mile of the night regardless of age or sex, a remarkable feat for a two-year-old filly.

On the pacing side, Michaels Power shattered the track mark for three-year-olds with an eye-popping 1:48 1/5 effort tracking down Warrawee Needy in the late stages for the mild upset. The Jug winner rebounded in a big way after finishing last in the Breeders Crown two weeks earlier.

The $300,000 Super Final for three-year-old pacing colts saw Michaels Power take the early lead in a :26 opener for driver Scott Zeron. Ron Pierce, behind Mel Mara made a wicked move coming off the turn to secure the front. Pierce kept the pace lively especially when Jody Jamieson and Warrawee Needy made their move before the half. Warrawee Needy secured the lead past the :53 4/5 opening half and put it in overdrive on the final turn opening up ground on Mel Mara with an individual third quarter paced in :26 2/5. But Warrawee Needy couldn’t distance himself from Michaels Power. That altered son of Camluck just kept coming and won for the 14th time in 20 starts this year for trainer Casie Coleman and owner Jeffrey Snyder.

Michaels Power increased his earnings to $1,473,195 on the season making him the richest pacer in North America in 2012.

Warrawee Needy settled for second with I Found My Beach third in the record-setting event.