Control The Moment handily won the Cane Pace off a three-week layoff.
by Ken Weingartner
Control The Moment won the first jewel in Pacing’s Triple Crown, capturing Saturday’s $320,000 Cane Pace for three-year-old pacers by one length over Manhattan Beach at the Meadowlands. JK Will Power was third, nosing out filly Pure Country for the show spot.
The race featured a field of 11 horses and was contested at 1-1/8 miles. The time was 2:02.4.
Control The Moment was sixth in the early part of the race, which saw Big Top Hanover lead to the first quarter in :25.4 before JK Will Power took the front and guided the field to the half in :54.2.
From there, JK Will Power and Manny engaged in a battle for the top spot, hitting three-quarters in 1:21.4. But Control The Moment made a big move on the final turn and took control for the victory. The time to the mile was 1:49.
Pure Country, who was trying to join Countess Adios as the only filly to win the Cane Pace, started the race from the trailing position and was eighth through the first half of the race.
Control The Moment, who was racing for the first time since winning the Meadowlands Pace on June 16, was driven by Brian Sears for trainer Brad Maxwell. The colt has won four of eight races this season and 12 of 17 in his career.
“He hadn’t raced in a couple weeks and they were racing aggressive enough early in the race,” winning driver Brian Sears said. “He was a little keyed up when he came third over, I had him three deep a little earlier than I wanted, but he’s a really nice horse and paced right to the wire.”
Asked about the extra eighth of a mile, Sears said, “With the time off, he probably wasn’t super tight but he was really fresh, anyway.”
Maxwell said he wasn’t worried about the layoff.
“Last year I didn’t train him at all and he won eight in a row. I didn’t think (the layoff) would hurt him,” Maxwell said.
Control The Moment, a son of Well Said—Life’sliltreasure, is owned by the Control The Moment Stable. He has earned $1.02 million lifetime.
Part-owned David Heffering of Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON said winning on Hambletonian Day was likely good for Control The Moment’s visibility and future stallion career wherever the horse ends up standing.
“I think it’s a great day. Everyone from the industry is here and they get to see a great horse do something great. And it’s the first leg of the Triple Crown,” Heffering said.
— with files from Dave Briggs