Herculisa clicked off the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track in winning the $300,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championship for fillies on Sunday night at Northfield Park. The other victorious sophomores were Winning Ticket, Borntobeshameless, and Smothastenesewisky.
Starting from post one, Herculisa showed speed but yielded to Swizzle Hanover (Mike Wilder) coming to the 27 2/5 opening quarter. Miller then re-moved Herculisa to the top, and she would post a 56 1/5 half and a 1:24 three-quarters before cruising home in 28 3/5 to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:52 3/5. Katie's Lucky Day (Trevor Smith) rallied from fifth to second in the back-half, and Swizzle Hanover held third.
That time broke the filly world record of 1:53 set by Guinevere Hall at Northfield last year, and was also a tick better than colt Action Uncle's 1:52 4/5 tally at the Delaware County Fair on 9-23-20.
"She's a tremendous filly. Virgil had her right tonight. She was awesome," said Brett Miller. "She can race on any size track. She can race any way also. She can race from off-the-pace. It doesn't matter."
A daughter of My MVP-Herculotte Hanover, Herculisa is trained by Morgan Jr. for owner Jesmeral Stable. Herculisa, who was bred by Joe McLead, William Walters, and Up Front Racing LLC., is now a ten-time winner from 14 starts, and she pushed her earnings to $356,862. She was the 1-5 favorite and paid $3.80 to win.
"She's in the Breeders Crown, and she's in the Matron, so she's got life after Delaware," remarked Morgan Jr. "We'll give her a shot. I think she deserves it. She loves to pass horses, so it'll be exciting to watch her race at the Meadowlands on a big track."
The colt and gelding trot capped off Ohio Super Night, and Winning Ticket (Aaron Merriman), who started from post six, raced three-wide most of the first quarter, but he was able to get to the top nearing the 27 3/5 opening quarter. Winning Ticket backed down the tempo to 57 3/5 and 1:25 3/5 after that, then used a 28 4/5 last quarter to defeat pocket-sitter Lockbox (Chris Page) by three-parts of a length in 1:54 2/5. Perron (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) finished third.
"This is the first time I've pulled the plugs today. I didn't need to, but I just wanted to be reassured," said Merriman. "He raced a lot early in the year, in the Hackett and things like that. He's had to keep this horse tight in between starts with not racing. I think that's really hard and shows a lot of sentiment for this horse. It's very, very well deserving.
"I don't know how much he can go or what, but he does his job. After last year when he was sick, I'm very, very happy for the horse and the connections."
Winning Ticket was the third Ohio Sires Stakes champion for trainer Chris Beaver, who also co-owns Winning Ticket with Steven Zeehandelar, Tim Homan, and Jim Burnett. Now ten-for-ten in 2021, Winning Ticket has 14 victories from 17 lifetime starts, and he has now earned $434,547. Winning Ticket was bred by James Bender and returned $2.40 to win.
"I'm very proud of him. He's been an absolute dream this year, this colt has," stated Beaver. "I've got him staked, and I think we'll probably try the Canadian Trotting Classic with him anyway in a couple of weeks."
Charlie May was the big favorite in the colt and gelding pace, but he would be upset by Borntobeshameless in a 1:51 3/5 mile. Heart Of Chewbacca (Page) rocketed out from post eight and made front after a 26 3/5 opening quarter and went on to reach the half in 54 4/5. Charlie May (B. Miller) began a first-over move out of third before that station, and while he was able to get the lead on the outside racing to the 1:21 4/5 three-quarters, he couldn't clear Heart Of Chewbacca and remained two-wide around the last turn.
In the lane Charlie May finally put away Heart Of Chewbacca, but Noble had Borntobeshameless, who had been next-to-last but on cover at three-quarters, in top gear on the far outside, and Borntobeshameless surged by to beat Charlie May by a neck. Odds On Shaggy (Mitchell Cushing), who led early, was a solid third at 75-1.
"This horse here, I purchased him off of Ron Steck. I drove him one start and loved him, and I thought if he we could iron him out, we'd have a chance to be right here today," Noble remarked. "It helped out a lot with him having to do a lot of leg work, Charlie May, and this horse definitely has a big kick late. That's what I was hoping for."
Christi Noble trains Borntobeshameless, a gelded son of Big Bad John-Cruzin Angel, for owners James Morris, Dennis Owens, and Norman Rae Racing. Borntobeshameless, who was bred by George Green, was unraced as a 2-year-old, but has a trio of victories from 15 appearances this year to go with $202,086 in the bank. Sent off at 33-1, he paid $69.80 to win.
Summer Touch (Page) zipped to the engine in the filly pace and led to a 26 4/5 opening quarter, then elected to park a two-wide Leave Her Wild (Mike Wilder). Summer Touch rolled through a 55 second half and continued to show the way onto the third turn, but Smothastenesewisky (B. Miller) went three-wide from second-over off that bend and powered into the lead just after the 1:23 three-quarters. It was all Smothastenesewisky from there, as she drew off to win by 7 1/2 lengths in a track record 1:50 2/5. Screamin Demon (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) was second and Summer Touch held third.
"The first time I drove her, they said, if you can keep her on a helmet for a little while, she's got one heck of a move, and boy does she ever," said Brett Miller. "She was right up the riggin' and felt good, and when I tipped her three-deep, once she took those first two steps, I said to myself 'it's over.'"
Brian Haynes, who noted that he works a full-time job in addition to training a small stable, also owns the victorious daughter of Nob Hill High. Bred by Robert Mondillo and Donald Robinson, Smothastenesewisky made her 15th appearance in the winner's circle, and she has now stashed away $340,731. She returned $3.40 to win.
"We bought her for $3,000 at the November Sale in Springfield," said Haynes. "I work in the mornings and then in the afternoon me and my wife and my kids go in, and we train in the afternoon. Not in a million years (did I think I'd have a horse like this), especially not for $3,000.
"She'll go to Delaware and then I think Northfield, and we have a couple at Hoosier, and maybe the Matron at the end of the year."