Astarbeyondmagic of the River Bluffs Kennel gave a gutsy performance in winning the $60,000 Juvenile Stakes at Bluffs Run on Saturday, June, 18. Three times Astarbeyondmagic took the lead, the third in the final strides of the race and then only by a nose. But the Chelsea Wheeland pup, just days past his second birthday, got the job done.
“I’m a little surprised,” said trainer Chris Yochum. “But we thought he had a shot against a tough field.”
Breaking second out of two box, Astarbeyondmagic had to shake off a solid thump from Slatex Vincent (Harlan Brother), who came out of the six box. Magic did and bolted to the lead in the first turn.
“He broke good,” Yochum continued, “the key was that he was able to be in good shape in the first turn.”
Working off the rail, Astarbeyondmagic saw his lead disappear late in the backstretch as P’s Red Seal (Petzold) and Jet Force (Hardison) surged ahead. But, rounding the far turn, Astarbeyondmagic found another gear, he charged back into the lead as the field moved into the homestretch.
However, the race was only beginning. Bluffs Run’s victory leader, P’s Gibbs (Petzold) was making quite the charge after breaking seventh from the boxes. Coming inside of Astarbeyondmagic, P’s Gibbs nudged ahead as the pair moved deep into the homestretch. But the champion found one more gear and rallied back to win by a nose in a time of 30.18 seconds for the 5/16 mile.
“Astarbeyondmagic was our first pick to run in the Juvenile,” said Yochum.
The pup won in the first two rounds of the qualifying then finished second and third in the final two rounds of qualifying to make the final. The non-wins in the last two rounds “did not worry us,” Yochum added, “they were enough to keep him in it. The win means a lot. It’s my first stakes win as a trainer, but it’s the whole kennel that gets it done. My helpers, Mara George and Stacy Gubbles, do a lot. I’m proud of them.”
Astarbeyondmagic moves to 21-10-3-3.
P’s Gibbs is 29-18-3-4 with his second-place finish.
“Too close,” said trainer Brent Roden, “we thought we had won it. He had a couple of bumps and my other greyhound (P’s Red Seal) bore out on him, but he ran good.
“I have no complaints with a second and a third.”
P’s Red Seal, 27-3-8-3, finished one and half lengths back for the third.
Jet Force, 26-8-6-3, took fourth, five lengths back.
L’s Zakarack (Boeckenstedt), 29-9-5-5, who had rallied in the semifinals to earn a berth in the final, went to the boxes as the longshot in the field at 14-1. He rallied from seventh to finish fifth, just a step ahead of Slatex Kayser.
Slatex Kayser (Harlan Brothers), 25-12-3-3, came to the final as the top points earner in the qualifier as he won all four rounds. But Kayser broke sixth and never improved in finishing sixth.
Call Me Peculiar (Hardison), 29-5-7-2, who came into the final still in Grade B, broke last and finished seventh, six lengths back.
Slatex Vincent (Harlan Brothers), 26-5-7-2, broke on top but fell back in the frontstretch and stayed there to finish eighth, eight and a half lengths back.
By Steve Sigafoose