PLAINS TWP. — One year ago, it was Somwherovrarainbow that capture the headlines, winning the 2-Year-Old Fillies Pace at Woodbine.
Fast forward to the present, and a new star continues to dominate the division.
Enter I Luv The Nitelife, no stranger to fans at Pocono Downs.
The horse won for the 13th time in 14 starts this season, riding a perfect pocket trip by Tim Tetrick and exploding to a victory in the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Fillies Pace final on a sloppy track.
The surprise to some was that the horse went off as an even-money second choice behind Shebestingin, coming off two straight victories in Lexington.
It wasn’t a shock to watch I Luv The Nitelife ride the pocket most of the race, and just fire like a shot out of a cannon down the home stretch with steady rain pounding the race surface.
For its career, the Chris Ryder-trained horse has amassed nearly $2.1 million and has 17 wins in 24 starts.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Ryder said. “She’s a great horse and great horses do great things.”
I Luv The Nitelife had success at Pocono this season, winning both the Lynch Memorial and Valley Forge events in the summer.
The last setback for the filly was a third-place finish at the Meadowlands on June 1.
“You know, it’s been a long time between races. It seemed like an eternity,” Ryder said. “There were just no suitable races, so we just qualified. We didn’t have her eligible for Kentucky, so she had no races. Now, we’ll go to Chicago for the American National.”
One horse that could top I Luv The Nitelife’s resume in 2013 would be Bee A Magician, and the filly put on another show in the 3-Year-Old Fillies Trot final.
Brian Sears was in complete control of the race as Bee A Magician, 1-9 on the board and undefeated in 2013, took the lead on the first turn and never relinquished it, winning by at least five lengths.
Her time of 1:52.2 set a Breeders Crown record in that division.
“She does all the work,” Sears said. “All I try to do is keep her out of trouble and keep her out of harm’s way. I just don’t want to put her in spots that could cause her a problem.”
Tetrick was primed and set for another victory in the 2-Year-Old Colts and Geldings final, but around the final turn, So Surreal went a little too wide and was out of the race.
It opened the door for two – Ron Pierce’s Luck Be WithYou and 55-1 longshot Sometimes Said. The two blew by Somestarsomewhere, and went neck and neck to the wire.
There, it was Pierce’s Luck Be WithYou that edged out the longshot by a neck.
Luck Be WithYou paid $5 on a $2 bet, but the exacta and trifecta paid well — $120 and $380, respectively.
“From the nine-hole, it’s so tough to get money from there, and John (Campbell) gave him just an absolute perfect drive,” said Jim Campbell, trainer on Sometimes Said. “He seemed bright and alert after the race.”
Another longshot, 24-1 shot Cedar Dove, made a valiant run at the Open Mare Trot final, leading for a good majority of the race. The problem was the horse couldn’t hold off 1-5 favorite Maven and Yannick Gingras down the home stretch.
“I timed the gate perfectly and got out of there in good shape and got away with some easy fractions,” said Cedar Dove driver Ron Pierce. “She just couldn’t go fast enough far enough and Maven just caught us at the end. No shame in that.”
Maven, a winner of four consecutive races, won a 3-Year-Old Breeders Crown Trot title in 2012 at Woodbine, and set a world-record time of 1:51.4 in last week’s elimination race at Pocono.
Anndrovette’s bid to capture three straight titles in the Open Mare Pace final came up short, thanks to a gutsy effort by 10-1 morning line Shelliscape.
Anndrovette was third on the opening turn, and busted to the front on the first stretch. But Rocklamation chased the mare down on the back, and appeared to be heading toward the victory until David Miller ran her down in front of the home fans and won by a nose.
“It was a fight through the stretch there,” Miller said. “I didn’t know for sure until my mare hit the wire and her head was up. I felt pretty good with how the trip was working out and I thought she felt strong around the last turn. I feel great. She raced awesome last week, and came back this week with another great mile. She’s a very gifted horse.”
Rocklamation and Anndrovette finished off the trifecta.
“This mare has been cheating with me a little bit, and I know they trained her a little bit stiffer this week,” said Gingras, who also drove Rocklamation. “She let up on me a little bit quicker than I would have liked but she still went a big mile.”