Horses

Deweycheatumnhowewins Futurity race-off

The drivers got what they wanted for the Kentucky Futurity third-heat race-off, John Campbell on the rail and Ray Schnittker beside him.

Campbell and Celebrity Secret settled into the lead with Schnittker and Deweycheatumnhowe close behind.

They stayed that way for almost the entire mile until Dewey caught Celebrity Secret at the finish for a head victory before 4,987 fans at The Red Mile Saturday.

On his way to winning the third leg of trotting's Triple Crown, Dewey captured the first heat by a head over 12-1 outsider Clerk Magistrate.

Celebrity Secret, at 6-1, won the second heat by a neck over Crazed with Dewey a neck back in third.

That led to the first Futurity race-off since 2005 when Strong Yankee prevailed over Vivid Photo.

"My horse is a better follower," Schnittker said. "I had confidence (Dewey) was a better horse than (Campbell's). We got beat once by him, and we beat him (several) times.

"But John's horse hung tough. It was nice getting up by a head instead of getting beat by a head."

Campbell, who has won the Futurity six times, said, "It wasn't good enough. It sucks finishing second."

Campbell wasn't surprised by Schnittker's strategy.

"When he didn't try me at the gate, I knew it would be slow," Campbell said.

The race-off was timed in 1:593⁄5, seven seconds slower than the first two heats.

In fact, Schnittker was vocal in his displeasure about racing in heats and vowed his horses wouldn't do it again.

"Do you think they would tell Secretariat to go two heats in the Kentucky Derby?" the driver-trainer and co-owner wondered after the second heat. "I'm thinking about scratching him if I think he's not right in the post parade.

"It's cruel to the animals. It's bulls--- if somebody tells you it's good for them."

Schnittker would have been satisfied to stop with Dewey's victory in the first heat.

"He had a horrible trip, but he overcame it," he said.

Dewey was ahead of just one horse for the first half-mile and was sixth entering the stretch of a closely bunched field with second-choice Crazed on the lead.

Dewey finally caught Clerk Magistrate, who had moved to the lead from fourth.

In fact, driver Per Henriksen thought he had won. But trainer Trevor Ritchie feared otherwise.

"It was a valiant effort, but I didn't think he had won at the wire," Ritchie said. "Then I saw Per excited after the race, and I thought maybe I was wrong."

In the second heat, Clerk Magistrate either led or was second until fading to eighth at the finish.

At the front, Celebrity Secret won the photo with Crazed and Dewey, setting up the race-off.

Deweycheatumnhowe has one race left, according to Schnittker, the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands on Nov. 29. "One more race, and he'll be in a breeding shed in Kentucky," Schnittker said.

That will be Walnut Hall in Lexington, where the colt spent the winter after winning all 10 races in 2007.

For now, Dewey has 21 victories in 23 starts. He joined Donato Hanover as the only horse to win more than $2 million in his 3-year-old campaign.

It has been an extraordinary journey for Dewey. He was orphaned at six weeks and raised himself. Swimming in his private pond has become part of his training regimen.

He became the first undefeated trotter to win the Hambletonian on Aug. 2, and he claimed the third jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday. Like Donato Hanover last year, he bypassed the Yonkers Trot.

Under Schnittker's "old-school" training, Dewey will continue his quest for Horse of the Year. After a long rest from Saturday's grueling quest for the Futurity.

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