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News and Insight On Winbak Farm

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Levi's Lady beats boys in Currier & Ives

Saturday, June 05, 2010  By: Evan Pattak

Washington, PA--Forced to race against the boys when her connections missed the entry deadline for the Currier & Ives filly division, Levi's Lady turned gaffe to gold Friday (June 4) at The Meadows when she captured the fastest split in the stake's open division.

The $150,000 event was contested over three divisions, with Hard Livin and Baximum taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a Currier & Ives double (Levis Lady, Baximum) among his three winning drives on the 15-race card.

Trainer DeWayne Minor candidly acknowledged that he missed the entry deadline for Thursday's filly division. Rather than pass on the event, he devised a back-up plan: enter Levis Lady an eight-race maiden, no less in the open division.

"You want to know the truth?" Minor said. "I was training her the morning entries were due, and I forgot to enter her. She needed a race, and I figured that many of the better colts are just starting their seasons and might not be there. I thought she would have a shot. I know shes as tough as any of the boys, but she's pretty anxious in wanting to do her work. You have to monitor her behind the gate. If you get her in too quickly, she gets too fired up and may break."

Palone was able to keep Levi's Lady together behind the gate and urge her to the front. Although she scored handily in 1:55.4, Palone's stretch drive was interrupted by a nagging concern.

"Here I'm thinking, 'We're going to win, and they're going to take it away from us because she's a filly," Palone said.

But open divisions in most stakes are not gender-restricted, so Levi's Lady will keep her $25,000 winner's share, which compares favorably to $20,250, the most she could have earned in the filly division. Ellisarro Hanover was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Tommaso rallied for show.

Cowboyland Aalborg owns Levi's Lady, a daughter of Angus Hall-Baltic Brat, who was the only filly among Friday's 21 Currier & Ives competitors. Minor said the $30,000 yearling acquisition would ship to Canada to continue a sophomore campaign pointing to the Hambletonian Oaks.

Hard Livin's journey to the winners circle also required improvisation. Marcus Johansson wanted him on the early lead, but the son of SJ's Caviar-Affinity would have none of it.

"He's a little tricky behind the gate, and I got there too early," Johansson said. "He started fighting me, so I had to back him off. Then I had a little trouble popping the earplugs. There were a lot of things going on. He's a good horse, and he got the job done."

Hard Livin made the lead with a quarter-pole move. Though his early antics may have contributed to late fatigue, he came home in 30.2 and was able to hold off the first-over MMs Lucky Boy by a neck in 1:56, with Freedom Ridge third.

Jimmy Takter trains Hard Livin, who extended his career bankroll to $261,551, for Christina Takter, John Fielding and Falkbolagen AB.

Baximum was not in a promising position for a young trotter, trailing by 6-1/2 lengths at the half and forced into a third-over trip. But the even-money favorite trotted strongly through the stretch, prevailing in 1:56.2 by a half-length over On The Tab, with Kashs Caviar third.

"His lines showed that he was a little flat-footed leaving, so I wanted to put him in the race," Palone said. "He just didn't feel comfortable to me. I really wasn't that confident going into the last turn with that much ground to make up. But when I moved him, he felt good and solid."

Jonas Czernyson trains Baximum, a son of Cantab Hall-Bax Machine, for Robert Rosenheim Stables.

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