“SHE’S a tough SOB with big lungs.”
Even-money favourite Shartin employed the same tactic she did a season ago, to win last night’s $402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker at the Yonkers Raceway.
As was the case in the evening $663,260 Final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, both were the richest incarnations in the respective histories.
Shartin, from post position six among the high-end mares, was away fourth as Feelin’ Red Hot and AppleBottom Jeans were dueling early. The latter retook from the former by the 27.2-second opening quarter-mile before Shartin was out and moving again.
The former Australian-trained pacer made the lead just before a 55.2-second intermission, then finished off the 11th Matchmaker from there in 1:52.1 in her fastest purse mile of the season.
In doing so Shartin became the first lass to successfully defend her title and the first to win it more than once.
From the hinterlands came uncoupled stablemate Bettor Joy to get second, beaten a length-and-a-half, with Apple Bottom Jeans third.
For Shartin, a six-year-old daughter of Tintin In America co-owned by her escort, Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King and trained by Jim King junior, it was her fourth win in five starts.
“I’ve put her in spots before where I didn’t think she would reach and she just digs down and finds something,” driver Tim Tetrick said. “She’s a tough SOB with big lungs.
“When I saw Corey (Callahan, with Apple Bottom Jeans) had t ogo hard to get the lead, let George (Brennan, Feelin’ Red Hot) go and retake, I thought I’d take my chance and push the envelope and he let me go.
“She is a great mare; she’s proven it time in and time out. For her to do what she’s done, make a million dollars (in 2018), it speaks for itself.”
A $75,000 series consolation was won by Tetrick-driven and King-trained Newborn Sassy in a career-ending 1:54.
The six-year-old lass, which is off to be bred to Captaintreacherous, retires with 33 wins from 92 starts and just under $1.1.million.
“There’s a special place in my heart for her,” Tetrick said.
- By FRANK DRUCKER