The field was reduced to just five with the judge’s scratch of Shipps Xpectancy, and Barn Art was the longest price on the board.
Meanwhile, Barn Art was placed in third on the inside and stayed there when Vertical Horizon came out to challenge the leader turning for home, after the three-quarters was reached in 1:25.1.
When a seam opened on the inside in mid-stretch, as Lyons Horace drifted, Barn Art took advantage, shooting to the front to score by a half-length in 1:52.1. Vertical Horizon was second and Lyons Horace hung on for third.
It was his fourth career win in 22 starts for owner Winbak Farm of Chesapeake City, Md., and trainer Ben Wallace.
“First of all, we were just kind of hoping to get a flat line, just being careful off the gate,” explained Filion. “He has a tendency to throw his head and put himself off stride. But when he’s pacing, he can go some big trips. Around the last turn, he had a lot of pace and I could see they were kind of struggling on the front end. I knew if I could get room down on the inside, I had a shot.”
Barn Art returned a whopping $58.90 to win.
2009 North America Cup champion, Well Said, lived up to his 1-9 billing in the second $136,153 Simcoe division, but the margin of victory wasn’t quite as generous as some had predicted.
That was thanks to a sharp and determined Carnivore and Jody Jamieson, who led the field until the final inches of the race.
Just past a 55.3 half, Pierce put Well Said into motion on the outside, but Carnivore poured it on, making Well Said work for every inch of racetrack. Steps before the wire, Well Said finally nosed past his rival, stopping the timer in 1:50.2, with Carnivore second by a quarter of a length, and Rescue Plan (Jack Moiseyev) coming on for third.
Well Said, by Western Hanover, is trained by Steve Elliott for Lothlorien Stables of Caledon, Ont., and Jeff Snyder of New York, N.Y. This was the eighth victory in 10 tries this year for the double millionaire, who was also victorious in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace earlier this summer.
“Carnivore is a nice colt and he had his way up front,” said Pierce. “Steve Elliott told me he didn’t want me to win by any more than I had to, so...what did we win by, about four or five inches?
“This was a nice easy race for him. He’s coming into the (September 24 Little Brown) Jug just right.”
Asked about the possibility that Well Said would be skipping the fabled race, Pierce replied, “I don’t see why he shouldn’t be going to the Jug. I don’t see him having any trouble in the turns at all, and I don’t see any trouble with him going two heats.”