The supplemental entry, Bythemissal, won the 77th edition of the Little Brown Jug on a sunny, but windy, Thursday afternoon at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The $541,550 second heat was a battle between the two elimination winners — Fourever Boy and Bythemissal.
Fourever Boy protected his rail position and grabbed the early command, forcing the eventual winner into the pocket. Fourever Boy’s driver Dexter Dunn was able to control the field and fractions of :27.1; :55.3 and 1:24.1.
Around the final turn, driver Chris Page was able to angle Bythemissal off the pylons and used a :27 last quarter to score the 1:51.1 victory by three-quarters of a length.
Night Hawk (David Miller) was third and stablemate Six Feet Apart (Matt Kakaley) rounded out the superfecta.
The Downbytheseaside gelding is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. He was bred by Stephen P. Dey III.
Bythemissal, who was not originally eligible for the Jug and had to pay a $45,000 supplemental entry fee, became the first Ohio-sired Jug champion since B J Scoot (1988).
Page, who grew up in nearby Mt. Vernon, Ohio and currently resides in Delaware, hoisted the Jug for the first time.
“I have been coming to the Jug since 1994,” said Page. “This has been my dream since I was a little tyke.”
Trainer Ron Burke has now conditioned four Little Brown Jug champions.
The battle in the first elimination was over in the quarter of the mile, when Market Based (Andrew McCarthy) grabbed the early lead, but was forced into the pocket when Bythemissal took command just past the quarter in :27.1.
The positions remained unchanged past the half in :55.3. Night Hawk was the first to challenge from the back of the pack.
But Bythemissal was the strongest and used a :27.2 last quarter to defeat Night Hawk by four lengths in 1:51.3. Atlas Hanover (Anthony MacDonald) edged Greatest Ending (Mark MacDonald) for the show spot.
The second $50,000 elimination was action packed with four different horses holding the lead at some portion of the mile.
Fourever Boy took the lead from Gulf Shores (Yannick Gingras) in the lane and held off Six Feet Apart (David Miller) to score a 1 ¼ win in 1:51.4.
Birthday (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), who led early in the race, held on for fourth and advanced to the final.