Class prevailed in the sophomore pacing stakes at The Red Mile on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 9). North America Cup winner Pebble Beach (pictured above) clawed his path back to the winner’s circle in the $363,500 Tattersalls Pace while Niki Hill’s return to form continued with a decisive score in the $205,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial.
Pebble Beach found a covered trip after Mad Max Hanover powered to the front past a :27 first quarter. Driver Todd McCarthy stayed steady on the leader’s helmet up to a :54.1 half as Fourever Boy attempted to advance overland from fourth but stalled as the field crossed three-quarters in 1:22. Mad Max Hanover began to drift off the corner as even-money favourite I Did It Myway vaulted from second over for the front and Pebble Beach darted through an opening to the inside. Pebble Beach grabbed the lead as Mad Max Hanover gutsily battled to the finish but yielded a head at the beam with I Did It Myway third and Energetic Hanover closing for fourth. The winning time was 1:48.3.
“He’s been good every week but sort of hasn’t been putting in [effort] at the end of his miles,” trainer Noel Daley said after the race. “I didn’t want Toddy [McCarthy] to keep driving him in front, then we kept ending up first over. I think he’s best off a helmet, but it worked out. We followed a good horse, dashed up the rail then [Todd] said he was looking to get goofy – running out down the lane, but he got the job done. He’s a very quick horse.”
A son of Downbytheseaside, Pebble Beach etched a 13th win onto his 24-race card and has now accrued $1,390,375 for owners Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco & Country Club Acres and LAExpressFoderaDeoVolente.
The colt, who paid $10.92 to win, will make his next start in the Breeders Crown per Noel Daley.
Niki Hill, meanwhile, outplayed all her peers to notch a 1:48.4 win in her third start back from an injury.
Sent off as the 1-4 favourite, driver Dexter Dunn planted Niki Hill on the point past a :27.2 first quarter and refused to relinquish control. She strolled by a :54.4 half and turned away a fierce first-over push from Max Contract through three-quarters in 1:22.3 to sprint home under minimal encouragement in :26.1 and cross the line going away. Queen Of Success burst through rivals to snag second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Max Contract levelled out in third and Wickedly Innocent rallied for fourth.
“We have the Breeders Crown in two weeks and I think we’re ready to go,” trainer Chris Ryder said after the race. “She’s just a phenomenal athlete. I really don’t know what to tell you. She’s on her own – Niki Hill is Niki Hill. Last week, she came out and went a lifetime mark and went faster today. I’m probably more proud of her. I’m stuck for words."
Tom Hill owns Niki Hill, a daughter of Always B Miki with 11 wins from 14 starts and $1,142,784 earned. She paid $2.72 to win.
The Tattersalls Pace was presented by Cameo Hills Farm and the Glen Garnsey Memorial was sponsored by the Downbytheseaside Syndicate and Diamond Creek Farm.
(With files from The Red Mile)