MILTON, October 22, 2022 - Two standout sophomore colts, Pebble Beach and Bythemissal, punched their tickets to the big dance in a pair of $33,750 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace eliminations, Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
In a week’s time, Pebble Beach and Bythemissal will find out if they are fit for a ‘Crown.’
On this night, each showed they have the credentials to lay claim to that coronation.
The first division saw an absolutely dominating performance courtesy of Pebble Beach.
Birthday, 35-1, was sent to the front early with fellow longshot 33-1 Dalby Hanover picking up the chase in second, Magical Arthur sat third and 1-5 choice Pebble Beach tucked in fourth through an opening panel in :26.2.
Pebble Beach was then on the move, as Todd McCarthy guided the multiple stakes winner to the front and through a half in :54.1.
Ahead by 2 ½ lengths after three-quarters reached in 1:22.0, Pebble Beach, coming into his Crown elimination off a victory in the $363,500 Tattersalls Pace on October 9, darted away from his rivals with ease down the lane, cruising to a geared down 2 ¾-length triumph in 1:48.3.
Birthday held for second, while a hard-charging Ponda Warrior rallied to net third spot. Also qualifying for next Saturday’s final were Fourever Boy and Dreamfair Arnie B, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
With the win, Pebble Beach is undefeated in four starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with his biggest win coming in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup on June 18.
“This was the best he’s been,” said trainer Noel Daley. “He finished it off. Todd said he was like a different horse tonight. I don’t know if it was the Lasix that made the difference but tonight, that was even better than he was earlier in the year. He was really sharp during the week here, literally kicking his shoes off in the paddock. So, I’m glad he just finished it off and showed that he’s back to form.”
After some tough recent results at The Red Mile, Pebble Beach was back on track and back in the winner’s circle.
“You know, it was disappointing all the time,” offered Daley. “I just knew he was better than that.”
A son of Downbytheseaside, Pebble Beach posted his 14th win in 25 starts this season and has now amassed over $1.4 million in lifetime earnings for owners Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres and LAExpressFoderaDeoVolente.
Bred by Brittany Farm, the bay colt was an $85,000 purchase at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale as Hip No. 710.
Bythemissal continued his dream season with a strong effort in the second elimination.
It was second choice on the tote board I Did It Myway who overtook Greatest Ending for the lead into the first turn, with Bythemissal sitting third and Mad Max Hanover in fourth, as the pacesetter brought the field to the opening quarter in :27.2.
Chris Page, in rein to Bythemissal, was on the march soon after, and the duo struck front, 1 ½ lengths ahead of I Did It Myway after a half reached in :54.4.
The pair were still one-two after three-quarters in 1:23.0 and began to pull away from their foes down the lane. I Did It My Way looked to reel in his rival in the late going, but Bythemissal wouldn’t be denied, going on to post a three-quarter length score in 1:49.1. Greatest Ending, Mad Max Hanover and Captain Cowboy also earned a spot in next Saturday’s final.
“I’m always a little apprehensive, who’s on the outside, but the horse felt really good,” said Page. “Kind of got a nice third-quarter breather, so I knew he’d have a pretty good punch coming home.”
It was yet another polished performance from this year’s Little Brown Jug victor, trained by Ron Burke, who co-owns with Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The Downbytheseaside-Dismissal gelding became the first Ohio-bred Jug champion since 1988 winner BJ Scoot.
Now, the bay who won his only two-year-old start, banking $3,000 for the victory, will have the opportunity to add another piece of serious standardbred hardware to his connections’ trophy case.
Bythemissal will also carry a five-race win streak into next Saturday’s showdown with Pebble Beach and eight other rivals.
“Who would’ve thought that from there [Little Brown Jug], I would be here talking to you for the Breeders Crown,” Page told Mark McKelvie after the race. “To win the Jug, that was definitely the top of my bucket list, and this is up there near the top, so we’ve got to finish next week.”
With the win, Bythemissal, who paid $3.50 for the win, is now 13-2-0 from 15 starts.
Bred by Stephen Dey, the gelding was a $135,000 purchase (Hip No. 794) at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms