When the expected competition failed to show up, Sylvia Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch had it his own way once again as he galloped to victory in the $100,000 Broad Brush Stakes.
This was the tenth stakes win for the Tim Keefe trainee and his third stakes victory in a row at Laurel Park after taking the Maryland Million Classic and the Jennings Handicap this fall.
Under Forest Boyce, Eighttofasttocatch broke alertly from his outside post, then rated off of frontrunner Warrioroftheroses until neither he nor Boyce could wait no more. They pressed to the fore at the at the quarter pole and pulled away to win by two lengths. A.P. Cino took second and Gourmet Dinner finished third.
The winner covered the 1-1/8th mile distance in 1:53.01 and paid $3.40.
The expected competition, Lucy’s Big Boy, Ponzi Scheme and Fred High, were just not heard from today.
“There were a couple of horses in there today that had a lot of speed, so we knew that they would try him early today,” said Boyce. “His best races, yes they have been when he is in front, but at some point you know they’re coming after him. I just keep him happy and try not to let him get too aggressive. He was very settled today and he ran extremely fast the last 3/8ths. I don’t think he’s a one dimensional horse. Sometimes the best game plan is to not have a game plan at all.”
“We worked on simulating the race with other horses in the morning in case he had to race outside,” said Keefe. “Peter Brown-Whale, his exercise rider, didn’t really have to ask him to go. He is such a smart horse, he knew just what to do. The fractions were a little slower than we expected. He is really right now. The race set up as we expected and he relaxed just off the pace. When Forest asked him to go, he was ready.”
LAUREL, MD. 11-16-13---Sylvia Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch bounded to the lead a few strides out of the gate and was in complete control the rest of the way as he drove to victory in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap for registered Maryland-breds.
This was the third year in a row that the Tim Keefe trainee had won the Jennings, matching Little Bold John (1987-88-89) for that honor. Forest Boyce was in the irons as the son of Not For Love completed the one mile distance in 1:36.76 and won by six lengths. Wild Louis took second and Concealed Identity finished third.
“He broke a little slow today but he was much the best,” said Boyce. “Tim always has him ready for me. I get to just hang on and enjoy the ride.”
“I don’t want to sound overconfident but it was a nice race,” said Keefe.”He’s very good right now. I’m most proud that he’s maintaining at this level. He has no problem with a mile and a mile and an eighth. I’m flattered that he’s mentioned in the same sentence with Little Bold John.”
“He’s done a heck of a job,” said Arnold Heft, who is married to the owner. “This guy has won close to a million. He’s making me feel young. This horse is not for sale.”
This was the ninth career stakes win for the 7-year old. He won the Maryland Million Classic in his previous start and in April captured the Henry S Clark Stakes at Pimlico. Today he paid $3.60.
Sylvia E. Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch took the lead ten jumps out of the gate and then led the rest of the way to win the $91,750 Henry S. Clark Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.
Winning for the first time in four tries at Pimlico, Eighttofasttocatch carried Forrest Boyce for the first time to a widening, five length victory in 1:43.91 for the 1-1/16th mile distance. The race had been carded at one mile on the turf but lost eleven runners to scratches when it was moved to the main track.
“I was happy it came off the turf because we would have had to break from the 14-hole in a 14 horse field, so getting the 3-hole in a five horse field was nice,” said winning trainer Tim Keefe. “He is set in his ways and everything has to go right for him and it did today.”
The son of Not For Love won his seventh career stakes race and boosted his career earnings to $645,430. Boyce worked Eighttofasttocatch at Laurel Park last Saturday and liked what she saw.
“It was cool to finally get the mount on him,” said Boyce. “He settled in quite nicely but you always worry when you have that kind of lead with those kind of fractions. But I left him alone. He was very relaxed being out there on the lead and he kept on going.”
The last two years, Keefe has run his star in the Dixie Stakes (G2) and Pimlico Special (G3) but indicated he will not do so this year. Instead he will focus the next six months on getting the 7-year-old to the Maryland Million Classic in October at Laurel, where he has won six stakes.
“He has been solid and the key is that Arnold and Sylvia do not pressure me to run,” added Keefe.
Lubango finished second with Concealed Identity third. Eighttofasttocatch paid $3.80.
LAUREL, MD. 10-19-13---Sylvia E. Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch led from start to finish and won the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic for the second time in the past three years. Last year the son of Not For Love finished a fifth in the Classic as the betting favorite but this year things were completely different.
The Maryland Million is the one of the most important racing days at Laurel Park with 11 events for runners sired by Maryland-based stallions for combined purses totaling $1 million. The 28th annual event drew a crowd of 18,036 on a cool, crisp Saturday afternoon in central Maryland.
Garrison Forest High School graduate Forest Boyce sent the 7-year old to the lead from his advantageous rail position and was able to nurse him around on the lead in 1:50.42 for the 1-1/8th mile distance. Eighttofasttocatch won under a drive by 3-1/4 lengths over Romancing the Gold, with Wild Louis taking third.
“It worked out great. We got away well,” Boyce said. “I thought someone might try us early, soften us up but it didn’t happen. My whole family is from here. My ninety year old grandmother came out today, which was really cool.”
Eighttofasttocatch is 2-for-6 this year, which includes a score in the Henry Clark Stakes and a gutsy second in the Pimlico Special (G3) on Preakness weekend. The 7-year-old now has seven career stakes victories at Laurel Park and has earned $794,585.
“I was very comfortable with where I had him coming into this race, but my concern was that I was comfortable last year and it didn’t go quite as well,” said winning trainer Tim Keefe. “I didn’t think I needed a prep for this race because we all felt that he was right. I guess my only concern now is that he is seven and we may only have him for another year or two. He will be hard to replace in our barn.”
The winner paid $2.60 as the popular favorite.
“I guess winning feels like I was pitching in the World Series,” said Arnold Heft, the husband of the winning owner. “The only thing bad is, I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow. My wife is not well. I’m just sorry she’s not here. She was here the last time. Racing keeps me going right now. When Eighttofasttocatch runs his race, he won’t get beat.”
Sylvia Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch displayed the controlling speed that had already earned him five stakes victories at Laurel Park when he defended his title in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap this afternoon.
Sheldon Russell was at the controls as the Tim Keefe trainee completed the one turn, one mile distance in 1:36.86. Eighttofasttocatch was in complete command down the stretch, sailing under the finish line 5-1/2 lengths the better of post time favorite Hello Lover, who rallied from next-to-last to take second. Charge finished third.
“When we turned for home I hadn’t really used him. I had so much horse when I asked him he exploded,” said Russell. “Tim had him right today. It was nice to see him bounce back to form.”
The son of Not For Love had not won since taking the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes in March, finishing off the board in his next four starts, including a dull fifth in the Maryland Million Classic two months ago.
“I gave him time after the Pimlico Special (May 18) and was happy with his performance in the Japan Association (Sept. 8) but was at such a loss after the Maryland Million. I didn’t know what to think because there was nothing wrong with him,” Keefe said. “He was coming into this race in great shape and we were fortunate there was no pace. The idea was just to go to the front and try to go as easy as we can and we think that is what he prefers. Sheldon did a great job slowing the pace down and things worked out well.”
Eighttofasttocatch paid $5.60 as the second betting choice.