Sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite in the field of seven after the scratch of Henry The Dragon, world champion and Messenger Stakes victor Downbytheseaside, with Brian Sears at the lines, captured the $125,000 Jug Preview at Eldorado Scioto Downs in 1:51 on Saturday (Sept. 9).
“We will take it easy with him next week (to prepare for the Little Brown Jug) and then start training him a little harder as the week goes on,” said Brian Brown, the colt’s conditioner after the race.
Owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing, the 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover left a step slower than his colleagues from post position one. Ohio Sire Stakes champion Drunk On Your Love (Dan Noble) took advantage of the leisurely beginning and shot to the lead from post position eight with Downbytheseaside right on his back.
Drunk On Your Love led the field through a first quarter in :28.2 and that is when Sears decided to wait no longer to send his horse to the top. The duo came to the outside and cleared that rival by the three-eighths pole on the way to a :56.2 half-mile.
Although Downbytheseaside remained in control, he did not place much separation between his rivals and himself through three-quarters in 1:24.1. As the horses commenced their drive into the final turn, Drunk On Your Love made his move from the pocket seat, while Sports Column (Andrew McCarthy) came with a brush to make his bid with Filibuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley) taking full advantage of that cover.
As the field entered the stretch and continued down the lane, Drunk On Your Love paced through the passing lane while Filibuster Hanover and a very game Sports Column gave chase. Their efforts were in vain as Downbytheseaside held all his challengers at bay by a measured 1-1/2 lengths. Filibuster Hanover (6-1) was second with Sports Column (18-1) finishing third. Drunk On Your Love (13-1) rounded out the superfecta.
Brown stated on several occasions this season that the colt’s feet had been problematic at times and after his workman–like triumph in the Messenger Stakes final on Sept. 2 he explained yet again Downbytheseaside was not at his best due to this recurring issue.
Brown, however, has made some adjustments he feels could very well have remedied the situation.
“We thought we might have to scratch (from the Messenger elimination) because his feet were sore,” he said. “Earlier in the spring he popped a gravel and it came out, but with this it never ever did. They were just bothering him, so we changed his shoes. I have to give all the credit to my blacksmith because he put the new flip-flops on him and he went right out and was much better.
“We changed his shoes back to aluminum for the final and then changed them back to the flip-flops tonight. He came home in :26.4 tonight but the fractions were slow early. I’ll need to talk to Brian (Sears) and see what he thinks about how he is. Brian is a man of few words but when he talks I better listen.”
With this victory, Downbytheseaside improved his lifetime record to 26-17-4-4 and has amassed nearly $1.6 million. His next engagement will be on Thursday (Sept. 21) in the Little Brown Jug.
by Kimberly French, USTA Newsroom Correspondent