|Il Villaggio was alone at the finish of the Pride in Progress at Indiana Downs on Wednesday|
Starting from the second tier, in post 10, Jamieson was concerned with his position trailing Hot Shot Blue Chip at the gate. As the starter pulled away Brian Sears sent Arch Madness to the lead as Il Villaggio followed All Cantab, driven by Trace Tetrick, and Hot Shot Blue Chip through a :26.3 opening quarter. Lucky Jim, tabbed the second choice, broke stride before the quarter and was never a factor.
“He was hot behind the gate tonight and wanted to go over top of everybody else,” Jamieson said of the 4-year-old. “I was concerned about the trailing spot. They’re always cautious with Hot Shot Blue Chip, but he got away okay.”
As Arch Madness reached the half (:54.3), Jamieson decided he could sit no longer, pulling from fourth and surging on the outside to challenge. Heading the leader at three quarters (1:23.1), Il Villaggio dispatched the favorite and trotted home in :29.4 to earn his fifth win in 10 starts.
“I was still pulling on him pretty hard at the half and I decided to take my shot,” he explained. “When we got to Arch Madness he was done. My horse powered by him.”
Fourth in his last start, the $300,000 Nat Ray, Il Villaggio added his name to the Indiana Downs record book. Owned by Brittany Farms, Blue Chip Bloodstock, Inc. and Il Villaggio Partners, the stallion lowered the track record for older trotters by one-fifth second. The record was previously held by Triumphant Caviar and set last September..
“Through it all he’s been getting better every time,” Burgess said about his pupil. “First-over doesn’t bother him. He’s not a coward; he’s not afraid of that. He has a high turn of speed. He’s always had that, but it takes him longer to get into gear.”