Jake And Elwood won his second pacing triple crown event this year by upsetting favorite Beach Towel in the $311,059 Messenger Stakes last night at Rosecroft Raceway.
Driven by John Campbell, Jake And Elwood's winning time of 1:52 3/5 in the final heat of the Messenger set a stakes record, equaled the track record for 3-year-old pacers and was just one-fifth of a second off the overall track record held by T K Skipper. In addition, the Messenger victory was the sixth of seven for Campbell last night, a Rosecroft record.
Jake And Elwood won the Cane Pace at Yonkers Raceway two weeks ago. There will not be a triple crown winner this year since Jake And Elwood is not eligible to the final leg, the Little Brown Jug.
Campbell took the early lead in the final heat and then opened up room between him and Beach Towel, who tried to close in the stretch for trainer-driver Ray Remmen. Beach Towel's bid fell short and Jake And Elwood, trained by Ken Seeber, went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
"I knew when the gate opened I was going to get the the front pretty easy," said Campbell. Coupled with In The Pocket, Jake And Elwood returned $4.80 to win.
It just wasn't Beach Towel's night.
In his elimination, Beach Towel finished second to long shot Kiev Hanover, driven by Rosecroft leader Jim Morand. Jake And Elwood finished third in that heat. Kiev Hanover's time of 1:53 eclipsed by two-fifths of a second the Messenger mark set last year at Freestate Raceway by Sandman Hanover.
Beach Towel's first loss this season didn't bother Remmen: "I was pleased with how the horse raced. He was used really hard early with two moves and he held on gamely."
In The Pocket won the first elimination, also for Campbell. Therefore, harness racing's top driver had to decide who to drive in the final. " 'Jake' is just a little more durable," said Campbell of his choice. In The Pocket finished sixth in the final for Mike Lachance.
In the second division of the Kentucky Standardbred Sale Co. Pace for 2-year-old fillies, Miss Easy outpaced Yankee Co-Ed in the stretch and went on to win her 12th straight race, in 1:55. Probably more exciting than the race was the show wagering on Miss Easy. The filly attracted $239,489 out of a total show pool of $245,583, easily a Rosecroft record.
Unreachable won the other Kentucky Standardbred Sale Co. Pace in 1:57 1/5.