Captain Barbossa and Joe Bongiorno took advantage of an early speed duel between the elimination winners and won the 75th edition of the Little Brown Jug, presented by the Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association, on Thursday at the Delaware County Fair.
Catch The Fire (Mike Wilder) and Sandbetweenmytoes (Scott Zeron) battled for the early second heat lead and the pair paced side-by-side past the opening quarter in :26.
Sandbetweenmytoes took the lead around the far turn and led past the half mile station in :53. Bongiorno eased the eventual winner off the rail and took command at the five-eighths mile pole and passed the three-quarters in 1:21.2 on the lead.
Captain Barbossa drew off and defeated a closing Cattlewash (David Miller) by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:49.1. Catch The Fire held on for third and Sandbetweenmytoes was fourth.
Tony Alagna trains the Captaintreacherous gelding for Robert LeBlanc, David Anderson and Alagnafrankinthegym Stable. He was bred by Steiner Stock Farm of nearby Lima, Ohio.
It was the first Jug title for Alagna and Bongiorno.
“Being able to sneak around Dexter (Dunn’s) horse (Seeyou At Thebeach) when the gate sprung, I noticed his horse was fumbly gaited, I think that was the winning move,” noted Bongiorno, who turned 27-years-old on Wednesday. “I closed the hole coming out of the first turn and made Scottie (Zeron) push the tempo. I knew being first over was going to be the spot.
“There are no words to describe the feeling of winning. The past couple of days have been a dream come true, being second in yesterday’s Jugette … I can’t thank Tony and his owners enough for entrusting me with this horse.”
In the first elimination, Catch The Fire used a patient drive by Wilder to catch the pacesetting Seeyou At Thebeach (Dexter Dunn) in the final turn to score a 4 1/4 length win in 1:49.3. Later Dudes (David Miller) was third and Genius Man (Marcus Miller) was fourth and advanced to the $335,400 final.
In the second $111,800 elimination, Scott Zeron was forced to use a three-wide move down the backstretch and steered Sandbetweenmytoes past Capt Midnight (Dexter Dunn) and Major Betts (Jordan Stratton).
Sandbetweenmytoes defeated a strong Captain Barbosa by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:49.3. Capt Midnight held on for third and Cattlewash (David Miller) was in the final advancing spot.
Jay Wolf is the Little Brown Jug Publicity Director.