The Jug is the Kentucky Derby equivalent for standardbred pacers. From the Calgary Herald-
Harness Racing – Canadian owned and trained Shadow Play won the 63rd Little Brown Jug harness race on Thursday in Delaware, Ohio.
The three-year-old pacer was the 3-5 favourite to win the $551,225 US event and made short work of the field, winning the first elimination heat and then capturing the title in the second heat in the final. He paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10.
The victory was worth $161,693 for the owners, which included former Montreal Canadiens player and executive Serge Savard. Ian Moore of Charlottetown, who also trains Shadow Play, and a group from Bathurst, N.B., hold an ownership stake as well.
The final portion of harness racing’s Triple Crown is the Messenger Stakes in Yonkers, N.Y., on Oct. 25.
Harnessracing.com has more details about Shadow Play’s victory.
Shadow Play led from start to finish to win the second and deciding heat of the $551,225 Little Brown Jug Thursday at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds, posting a 1:50.1 finish for driver David Miller, the second Jug victory for the Ohio native. The combined time with his elim victory of 1:50 established a new world mark for two heats.
When my father’s horse named Fast Clip raced in the Jug in 1972, the winner Strike Out went in a then world record 156.3 for a pacer on a half mile track. More than six seconds have been shaved off that mark in 36 years.
Drawing post one among the three elimination winners, Miller took control from the outset, with Lonestar Legend and driver Dave Palone taking the two hole and Art Official and Ron Pierce sitting third. The three elimination winners stayed that way through an opening quarter of :28 and then Pierce tipped Art Official to the outside.
As Pierce ranged up first-over with Art Official, Miller took a peak back and kept Shadow Play to his task, reaching the half in :56.1 and three quarters in 1:23.4. Art Official began to tire around the final turn, and the dash was on to the wire.
Shadow Play drew clear from Lonestar Legend by 6 1/4 lengths, while Art Official managed to hold onto third. For driver Miller, the win was his first Jug victory since 2003 with No Pan Intended. The win almost didn’t come about as trainer Ian Moore contemplated scratching the colt after he came up sore in a front foot following his elim victory. He made a shoeing change and decided to send Shadow Play behind the gate.
In 1972, Jay Time was scratched after being raced hard in the first heat of the Jug. The horse’s owners and driver/trainer Gene Reigle worried for the horse’s health.
Shadow Play isn’t the first Canadian owned horse to win the Jug. Strike Out was Canadian owned also, it may have happened other times between 1973 and 2007.