Also taking $200,000 championships were Dontyouforgetit (trotting colts and geldings), Handsoffmycupcake (pacing fillies) and Good Day Mate (pacing colts and geldings). Dave Palone and trainer Chris Oakes teamed for a pair of championships with Frau Blucher and Good Day Mate.
The championships anchored a spectacular card that also featured four $50,000 consolations, a quartet of $50,000 Invitationals and more than $1.2 million in total purses.
Frau Blucher was so named by one of her owners, Tim Hauser, after the Cloris Leachman character in Mel Brooks’ film Young Frankenstein. In the movie, Frau Blucher is so fierce that the mere mention of her name causes horses to rear in terror.
In Friday’s championship, the equine Frau Blucher followed that script to the letter, intimidating the field with a quarter-pole move and drawing off to triumph by three and a quarter lengths over Aspidistra Hanover, with Upfrontluckycarol third. Her time erased the previous track record of 1:55.2 set last year by Sand Violent Blu.
“She hasn’t really faced the best of the best,” Oakes said of the daughter of Broadway Hall-My Angel, a $21,000 yearling acquisition for Hauser Bros Racing and Matt Tudisco. “But after that mile, you’d have to consider her among them. She’s a great big filly who doesn't get tired.”
Oakes did not care for the Frau Blucher moniker at first, but now that the filly has banked $330,078, he’s warmed to it.
“I absolutely loved her original name,” he said, “but we can’t yell at Timmy anymore. It worked out pretty good.”
Oakes said Frau Blucher would be given some time off before her Grand Circuit engagements at the Red Mile.
Dontyouforgetit yielded the early lead to Major Athens in his championship, then blew by that rival in the Lightning Lane for Yannick Gingras and scored in 1:55.2, matching the track record shared by Keystone Activator and Pilgrims Taj. Major Athens was a length back while Possessed Fashion rallied for show.
“I was happy with the two-hole,” Gingras said. “I figured we could take the trip and win. He’s a little horse, so I don't know how he’ll stack up on a big track. But he gets it done. He’s a winner.”
But for a break at the wire in an Aug. 15 PASS leg, Dontyouforgetit would be undefeated in his six-race career. Jimmy Takter trains the son of Cantab Hall-Solveig for Solveig’s Breeders.
Blocked for most of the stretch and seemingly racing for a cheque, Good Day Mate finally found late room deep in the Lightning Lane and made up a length’s deficit in the final few yards to notch an improbable neck victory over Johns Polyview in 1:53. The Pan Poobah was third.
“I never had one that late go past anybody,” Palone said. “I had to wait and wait and wait and hope that late I could shove him through there. I was loaded and never had a chance to go outside.”
A son of Christian Cullen-Stienams Place, Good Day Mate has not been worse than second in six lifetime starts.
When UF Dragons Queen blew the final turn on the lead, it triggered an exciting stretch drive that sawHandsoffmycupcake nose out 60-1 bomber Novascotia Hanover for Daniel Dube in 1:52.1, a career-best clocking. Donna Lee, hard used to get the early lead, saved show.
“We were trying to put her in play early a little bit,” said Scott DiDomenico, who conditions the daughter of Christian Cullen-Love You Forty for JFE Enterprise LLC, “but they were heading out of there fast. Fortunately, it set up good for us. She’s always been better coming off a helmet.”
He said Handsoffmycupcake will return to The Meadows for the Keystone Classic later this month before heading to the Matron.
Picture This, part of a three-ply entry trained by Charlie Norris, benefitted from a late seam-splitting drive from Mike Wilder to take the first Consolation race, the colt trot, in 1:57. The altered son of Classic Photo picked a classic moment to win the first start of his career, with almost $75,000 already earned for owner Leonard Buckner.
Dedis Dragon was sharp in the passing lane as the pocket rocket while taking the colt pace Consolation in 1:52.2 (faster than the Championship). The Dragon Again colt lowered his personal best by a tick in visiting "Victory Lane" for driver Yannick Gingras, trainer Ron Burke, and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Collura, and Hendler.
Also going faster than her Championship sisters was Somwherovrarainbow (try spelling that one quickly), who equalled the track record of 1:52 of Marty Party and Robin Cruiser