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by Al Cimaglia

September 24, 2020

The 75th running of The Little Brown Jug takes place today at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. There will be seven 3-year-old pacers competing in Race 15 and Race 16. The top four finishers in each elimination will return in the Jug which is carded as Race 20.

This is a solid group but there is not a truly dominant colt, especially on a half-mile track. The advantage of winning the elimination is drawing for the rail in the Jug. But there are horses competing who have never raced on a half-mile track. So, it will be interesting to see how hard they will be used in the eliminations.

Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.

Race 15-1st Division-Purse $111,800

5-Catch The Fire (5/2)-Sizzled a 26.2 opening quarter in the Adios Elimination and may need a similar burst off the gate to get the top. This is the 2nd start on Lasix but the 1st race at Delaware. Should be a major player as long as the trip is fair. But will probably be bet hard coming off a 2nd place finish to Tall Dark Stranger.
2-Chief Mate (7/2)-Had a big try in the Milstein on the 1/2 at Nfld on 8/15 from the 7-hole. Zeron should be able to get the early lead and either play hardball with #5 or take the pocket trip.
1-See You At The Beach (9/2)-This will be the 5th start for the Burke barn and the first time with an inside post. Since switching barns they have tinkered with equipment changes and Dunn should be able to put into striking range. Is not new to the Delaware turns as has trained here in the past.
6-Genuis Man (8-1)-East coast invader has faced speedy foes on the Yonkers oval. It would not be a surprise if the Erv Miller pupil hits the board at a price. Does need a trip and there is gate speed inside so Marcus Miller may have to grind it out.

Race 16-2nd Division-Purse $111,800

5-Sandbetweenmytoes (9/2)-Somebeachsomewhere gelding does most of his work on the 5/8's and has very good gate speed. This will be his 1st start here. Taking a swing he handles the corners better than #2 and #3 who usually race on larger ovals. The #1 has very good gate speed but is coming off a break. Maybe Zeron blasts out and gets the point or the 2-hole and pops at a square price.
2-Capt Midnight (5/2)-The Capt is the slight program favorite and deserves respect coming off a lifetime best score at Wbsb in 148.3. But this will be the 1st time on a half mile track. Dunn may look to safely get into the final and not put the hammer down here.
3-Warrawee Vital (3-1)-This colt also comes off a career best mile at Wbsb stopping the clock in 148.2. Ontario bred earns his keep on the 7/8's and is another who tries the 1/2-mile oval for the first time. Tetrick take over from Trevor Henry as this colt goes for its 4th straight picture. Similar to #2, will be a short price and might be handled more cautiously than usual.
7-Cattlewash (10-1)-Has hit the board in last 5 starts and has recorded 2 wins. Doesn't possess big gate speed but Dave Miller can figure a way to get this Burke trainee into striking range. Best to not overlook if makes the final and draws well.

Race 17-Ms. Versatility Final-Purse $87,500

5-Manchego (7/5)-Champion mare can leave as fast as the gate car. Unusual, but has faded in the lane in the last 3 starts. Has been off for 18-days and if 100% should be difficult to beat.
3-Kenziesky Hanover (25-1)-Cullipher trainee raced here once finishing 2nd and also shows a nice try at Yonkers versus Preferred company. Callahan needs to work a good steer but will respect chances of hitting the board and adding some juice to the gimmicks.
2-Plunge Blue Chip (5/2)-One of only 3 from this field who has a race over the track. Went gate to wire in the 2019 Ms. Versatility at 1-2. That script probably will not work if #5 is on her game. But could get the 2-hole trip behind Manchego and if she stumbles down the lane again it could be picture time.

Race 20-The Little Brown Jug-Purse $335,400

The top four finishers in each elimination will face-off in Race 20.

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