by Frank Carulli
August 14, 2018
No rules, just right.
And so it went Australian super horse Lazarus N in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes last Friday at Hoosier Park. The two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year made his U.S. debut a memorable one, winning for the 36th time in 46 starts and becoming the first pacer ever to run a sub-1:50 mile on two continents.
Lazarus N, the 1-to-2 favorite, brushed past early pace-setter Bit Of A Legend N entering the backstretch, carved out a :56.3 middle half and held safe to win by one length in 1:48.4.
Breeders Crown champion Split The House (Brett Miller) ranged up on the final turn and stayed on well through a 26-second final quarter, but the 19-1 longshot settled for second best. McWicked (Brian Sears), the 9-5 second choice, got up for third and, in doing so, eclipsed $3 million in lifetime earnings.
"I really didn't have a Plan A," said Lazarus N driver Yannick Gingras. "Heading into the first turn, it looked like he could make an easy lead, so I said to myself, 'Why not?' I don't think he has any style. I think that he can do what you want."
The long-range plan for Lazarus N and new owner Taylor Made Stallions is the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs in October, where he can bolster his $2.8 million bankroll and dual hemisphere stallion credentials.
STRATTON 'DREAMS' BIG AT NORTHFIELD
Jordan Stratton completed a lucrative Northfield Park hat trick when he guided Thinkbigdreambig ($17) to an upset victory in the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial Pace last Saturday.
Stratton, one of the top drivers at Yonkers Raceway, visited Northfield two other times this year and left town with a win in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie and $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic.
His work in the Milstein was made easier when race favorite Lather Up went off stride on the first turn. But he still had some work to do.
Jimmy Freight (Louis Roy), the 2-1 second favorite, inherited the lead and stayed there through a 1:22.3 third-quarter split. Then Thinkbigdreambig pulled out of the pocket, setting the stage for a stretch duel that he won by a half-length. Minnie Vinnie (Aaron Merriman) rallied to within a length of the winner to finish third in a race that timed in 1:50.
Jimmy Takter trains Thinkbigdreambig (5-10, $325k) for co-owners John Fielding, Goran Anderberg, Goran Falk and the partnership of Brixton Medical Inc.
"We knew we had a good shot coming here," Stratton said. "Jimmy (Takter) likes this horse a lot. He has had some bad trips and was due for a big effort."