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Coleman Seeks Delaware Double

Monday, September 19, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada

Coleman Seeks Delaware Double

Trainer Casie Coleman is looking to join some rare company. Only two trainers in harness racing history have won the Jugette, which is for three-year-old filly pacers, and the Little Brown Jug, which is open to any three-year-old pacer, in the same year: Brett Pelling and Billy Haughton.

Pelling accomplished the feat in 1998 when Armbro Romance won the Jugette and Shady Character won the Little Brown Jug. Haughton pulled off the double twice, in 1985 with Nihilator in the Jug and Amneris in the Jugette and in 1974 with Armbro Omaha in the Jug and Handle With Care in the Jugette. (Haughton is also the only driver to complete the Jugette-Jug double.)

Coleman’s trip to Thursday afternoon’s $526,800 Little Brown Jug with Betterthancheddar is her second appearance in the event, held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. Last year, she sent out Kyle Major, who in his first heat went off stride while battling Rock N Roll Heaven for the front and finished eighth.

“I’ve always dreamed of being in this race, let alone having a shot to win it,” Coleman said. “Just to be in this race is a dream come true and an honor. To win it would be absolutely unbelievable.”

Twelve horses entered the Little Brown Jug, which is the second jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown. The field was divided into two six-horse first-heat divisions, from which the top four finishers will advance to the second heat. If one of the first-heat winners also wins the second heat, he is the Jug winner. Otherwise, the three heat-winners will return for a race-off.

The last time a race-off was necessary was in 2000, when Astreos won over Gallo Blue Chip, George Scooter and Profita.

Betterthancheddar comes into the Little Brown Jug off a win in the Cane Pace, which is the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Betterthancheddar was not eligible to the Jug, but was supplemented for $45,000 under a provision that allows the Cane Pace winner to buy into the race if not eligible.

“It was just an oversight,” Coleman said. “Hopefully, it works out. We’ll make sure we never miss a payment again, that’s for sure. We just want to be here and have a shot at it.”

Steve Calhoun and Coleman’s West Wins Stable own Betterthancheddar, who was unraced as a two-year-old because of sickness. This year, he has won five of 11 races and earned $249,932. The son of 2001 Little Brown Jug winner Bettor’s Delight, out of the mare Lady Ashlee Ann, is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Ashlee’s Big Guy and 2007 Breeders Crown champ Artists View.

“As everybody knows, I’ve been real high on this horse since day one,” said Coleman, who is a four-time winner of Canada’s Trainer of the Year Award. “I know he hasn’t proven it yet, but hopefully it’s his turn to start proving it. He’s definitely peaking right now.”

Betterthancheddar, with driver George Brennan, will start his Jug first heat from post four and is 3-1 on the morning line. Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe is the heat’s 2-1 favorite while North America Cup champion Up The Credit is 4-1.

The other first-heat division features Big Bad John, who is 8-5 on the morning line, and is trying to become the first horse stabled year-round at the Delaware County Fairgrounds to win the Jug.

“It’s a tough bunch of 12 horses, that’s for sure,” Coleman said. “There are some nice colts in there. But I honestly think my colt is just as good as any one of them, if not a bit better hopefully. I’ve been real happy with how sharp he’s coming around right now.”

Before the Little Brown Jug is held Thursday, the Jugette for three-year-old fillies will be contested on Wednesday. Coleman will send out two highly regarded hopefuls, Idyllic and Pretty Katherine.

Idyllic is the 9-5 morning line favourite in the first of two $58,470 Jugette elimination races; Pretty Katherine is the 5-2 second choice in the other. The top four finishers from each elimination race will return for the $175,410 Jugette final later in the day.

“Everything seems very good,” Coleman said. “They’ve been sharp, sound and healthy

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