Mister Hercules went into the $25,000 Governor’s Cup Championship as the overall points leader in the two-year-old colt and gelding pace and came out as the champion Wednesday, Aug. 16 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Guided by Robert Taylor, the freshman pacer earned a new lifetime mark of 1:55.0 in the event.
Starting from post four, Mister Hercules made his intentions known from the start and rallied right out to the lead before the field of eight reached the first turn, securing the top spot. Packedwithluck and Mike Peterson used their inside advantage to tag along in second while Vel Mr Backfire and Brad Ferguson followed in third. The field passed the quarter in :28.0 and were headed to the half with a slightly slower tempo.
The slower second quarter prompted Heat Check and James Reed to make a big move toward the leaders. They matched Mister Hercules stride for stride past the half in :58.2 and all the way around the turn. Mister Hercules dug in gamely as Notorious Luck and Clint Coy moved three wide to prepare for the stretch drive.
In the stretch, Mister Hercules was strong, fending off challengers on the outside and also fending off Packedwithluck, who was moving up on the inside. But Mister Hercules biggest threat was Heat Check, who was not backing down. Horses were fanned all across the track to give fans an exciting finish. Only one length separated the top five at the wire with Mister Hercules coming away with the win by a half length over Heat Check. Vel Mr Backfire finished third.
Mister Hercules paced his final quarter in :29.4 for the win. The son of Let’s Drink on It is owned by Chad Bell of Mississippi and trained by Jeremy Jones. Alvin Schwartz bred the colt, who has only missed the top three once all season. Overall, he has six wins in 10 starts and now has more than $25,000 in earnings.
It’s been quite a summer for Mister Hercules. He set two track records for freshman pacing colts on the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit this summer and came into the Championship on a three-race win streak.
Mister Hercules was the only foal by Let’s Drink on It that sold at public auction last fall. He fetched a price of $4,500 at the Northern Indiana Yearling Speed Sale and is part of the second crop of limited foals from the stallion who was campaigned by the Seekman Stable. With only 15 registered foals of racing age, nine have started and six have marks under the 2:00 time barrier.
While Mister Hercules led the points for freshman pacing colts, the winner of the freshman pacing fillies was not on top of the standings. EQ’s Lady Desire and Jeff Dever turned in a very dominant performance for her win in the $25,000 Governor’s Cup Championship. The Real Desire filly got away in second behind Shipps Revenge and Don Cincebox and followed through early fractions of :27.1 and :57.1 before being flushed to the outside. EQ’s Lady Desire took over in the turn and by the time she had reached the stretch, she was six in front of the field.
EQ’s Lady Desire paced home in :30 seconds for the win by seven lengths. Rockinwithdave and Carson Conrad closed in for second over Vel Little Blister and Mike Peterson for third.
EQ’s Lady Desire is owned by Perry and Patti Johnson. David Nissley bred the filly, who was ranked fifth in the standings for the Governor’s Cup Championship. She had five wins during the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit.
EQ’s Lady Desire is part of the next to last crop for Real Desire. She was also purchased at the Northern Indiana Yearling Sale last fall for $4,750 by the Johnsons. She is now six for nine with her 1:56.0 mile in the Governor’s Cup Championship a new lifetime mark. The filly has not finished worse than third in her career for Dever, who also trains.
Other two-year-old winners in the trotting divisions of the Governor’s Cup Championships were Fly Delta and Doug Rideout in the filly trot in a time of 2:01.3 and Woodside Hank, also from the Rideout barn and driven by Clint Coy. The Pilot Discretion filly is owned by Julie Rideout and Gracie Rosson. The Swan for All colt was a winner in 1:58.3 and is owned by Twoforone Stable.
Shake Me Loose was a strong winner for John and Tabatha DeLong in the three-year-old pacing filly division in a time of 1:53.0 while Coaches Corner and Derek Hooley scored the win in the three-year-old pacing colt and gelding division in 1:53.0. Shake Me Loose and Coaches Corner, both products of Always a Virgin, were both ranked second in their respective divisions.
Sure Do, the top point getter in the three-year-old trotting filly division, was a winner for trainer-driver Jay Cross in a time of 1:57.0. The You Know You Do filly is owned by Carl Hanes.
The final Governor’s Cup of the day featured three-year-old trotting colts and geldings with Jailhouse Yankee and Brad Ferguson winning the title in a thrilling finish with Asliveroffashion and Mike Peterson. The Jailhouse Jesse gelding, trained by Larry King and owned by King Racing Stable, was a fast-closing winner by a nose over Asliveroffashion in 1:56.3.