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The $1.8 million event eight, $225,000 sire stakes finals for freshmen and sophomores of both sexes and gaits-produced the expected, the unexpected and the "it's a good thing no one was hurt."
ACT I-The Expected
Odds-on numbers Winndevie (Trond Smedshammer, $2.30), Gimpanzee (Brian Sears, $2.30), Plunge Blue Chip (Ake Svanstedt, $2.20), Wisdom Tree (Tim Tetrick, $2.50) and Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill Jr., $3.50) delivered their short parimutuel promises.
Winndevie grinded by leader Quincy Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.), winning the Crawford Farms 2 Year Old Filly Trot in 1:59. The latter led through intervals of 28.2, 59 and 1:27.4, but couldn't stall the first over from post position No. 2 foe, who prevailed by three quarters of a length. Sensibility (Jordan Stratton) was third, with Amal Hall (Andy Miller) fourth.
The daughter of Credit Winner, trained by her driver for owner Purple Haze Stables, is now 6 for 7 this season (3 for 3 here), with earnings of $227,858. The exacta paid $8.50, the triple returned $42.40 and the superfecta paid $108.50.
Despite the win, Winndevie's date did not seem impressed.
"She wasn't at her best,"Smedshammer said. "She's much better in the turns than she was tonight. Very bumpy. She won because no one else was there with her."
Smedshammer said Winndevie was eligible to the Breeders Crown, but "the way she was tonight, she's better off out in the field."
Gimpanzee made it 7 for 7, winning the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund 2 Year Old Colt/Gelding Trot in 1:56.3...a track record for his weight class.
From post No. 5, he was third at the 28.2 quarter mile, then made the lead before a 58.2 intermission. He then finished it off, getting a 1:27.1 three quarters before that new track standard. Gimpanzee defeated Thunder by a half length, his narrowest margin of victory this season. Our White Knight was third some dozen lengths behind with Horns for Three fourth.
Gmpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven, saw the bankroll improve to $278,858 for co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. The exacta paid $3.40, the triple returned $11.40 and the superfecta paid $94.
"Very professional, very mature," Sears said, "He knows what he has to do and goes out there and does it."
"I knew all along he'd be a good one, from when he was training down," trainer Marcus Melander said. "Just a good horse to be around."
All-age track record-holder Plunge Blue Chip had nary more than a qualifier for money in the Allerage Farm 3 Year Old Filly Trot. From post No. 2 and one Svanstedt's five entrants in the race-she strolled early and lost 'em late 29.2, :58.1, 1:26.3, 1:55.3
Plunge Blue Chip avenged last season's poor sire stakes finale effort, rolling home by seven lengths. Lima Novelty was the best of the rest, with Ciao Dolce and Fury Road rounding out the gimmick finishers.
Plunge Blue Chip, a Muscle Mass lass, has six wins, three seconds and thirds in 11 '18 tries ($485,101). She is co-owned by her driver/trainer Blue Chip Bloodstock, Little E LLC, Tomas Andersson and Rick Zeron Stables.
Wisdom Tree was the best in her division coming in and coming out, easily winning the Cameo Hills Farm 3Year Old Filly Pace. From post No. 4, she worked around Newsday, then had few issues 27.4, 57.1, 1:25.2, 1:53.2.
Wisdom Tree defeated Newsday by a length and a half, with a first-up Alexis Faith third and Checkered Past fourth.
It was the 11th win in 14 seasonal starts $387,351 for Wisdom Tree, a daughter of Betterthancheddar co-owned by Thomas Pollack & Jeff Cullipher and trained by Ed Hart. The exacta paid $9.10, the triple returned $22.40 and the superfecta paid $63.50.
"I'm glad it's over," Hart said. She's been racing on the front every start, probably because she's the best in there. We haven't put her in a lot of the open stakes since we wanted to stay in the sires, but she's eligible to one at Indiana, Northfield and the Matron, so she's not done yet."
As for Helpisontheway, he was certainly helped by Yonkers Trot winner Six Pack being ineligible to the final (Not enough prelim starts). So, after finished second to that in the Trot and a statebred event here, Helpisontheway had his way in the Morrisville College Equine Institute 3 Year Old Colt/Gelding Trot.
Away fourth from post No. 4, he watched Winning Shadow lead 28, 57, 1:25.3 before that one was put away by 50-1 Purpose Blue Chip. Helpisontheway was towed behind that live longshot, widening to win by 21/4 lengths.

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