Captaintreacherous came on strong down the stretch to grab the lead, then held off a spirited challenge from Odds On Equuleus to capture the $1-million Metro Pace on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
The two-year-old colt followed in the footsteps of his heralded father, 2007 Metro winner Somebeachsomewhere, to claim the $500,000 winner's share in a time of 1:49.2, matching Sportswriter's stakes record set in 2009.
"He has gotten better and better and learned how to race,'' said winning driver Jim Tetrick. "He lets me drive him the way I want to and that makes him a lot easier to put in the right spot.
"But any race when it says $1 million is awesome.''
And on Saturday night, that was off the pace as Tetrick kept Captaintreacherous well back of the leaders until the final turn. And when Tetrick felt it was time to make the late charge, his horse showed he had more than enough still in reserve.
"That versatility where I can take him back and wait for things to come to him instead of him having to make it worked out great tonight," Tetrick said.
But still, the win didn't come easily for the 4/5 favourite.
Not long after Captaintreacherous surged past Apprentice Hanover into the lead, Odds on Equuleus — driven by four-time Metro champion John Campbell of Ailsa Craig, Ont. — came on to mount a serious challenge. But Captaintreacherous was able to keep Odds On Equuleus at bay, finishing first by a neck for his fifth win in six lifetime starts — the other result being a second-place effort.
"It was a fight all the way to the wire," Tetrick said. "Odds On Equuleus raced awesome.
"I thought he might have a chance at me and almost got me but my colt stood him off and race his heart out.''
Campbell said he couldn't have asked for more from Odds On Equuleus.
"You certainly can't fault his effort," Campbell said. "I thought I had a good chance to win around the last turn.
"I was following the right horses and I wasn't sure how much pace the other two had, but I felt like my horse was going to kick home strong and he did. We just couldn't run the other horse down.”
Apprentice Hanover, driven by Jody Jamieson of Moffat, Ont., finished third in the richest race for two-year-old pacing colts.
“My horse raced just awesome,'' said Jamieson, a two-time Metro winner with Yankee Skyscraper (2006) and Mystician (2010). "I really thought I was gone at the head of the stretch.
"I got the slingshot off the final turn and I opened up a length and a half and I really thought I was gone. It took a huge effort for those other two horses to haul me in.”
Tony Alagna, Captaintreacherous' trainer, said the race unfolded pretty much like he thought it would.
"It set up exactly how I thought it would with us as we followed Jody, who has a very good horse," he said. "We had to come three-high early with him and everyone knows that (Odds On Equuleus) has a terrific kick coming for home.
"They came charging to the wire like I thought they would. What a great race.”
The remainder of the 10-horse field included: Wake Up Peter; Dress The Part; Rockin Amadeus; Fool Me Once; Vegas Vacation; Captive Audience; and Johny Rock.
Captaintreacherous also ended a recent trend as the last two Metro winners were decided longshots. Simply Business, a 20-1 pick, won last year's event while Mystician finished first in 2010 at 30-1 odds.
Captaintreacherous paid $3.70, $2.60 and $2.10 while Odds On Equuleus returned $3.90 and $3.10. Apprentice Hanover paid $3.10.
Another heavy favourite emerged victorious earlier on Saturday's card as I Luv The Nitelife won the $610,000 She's A Great Lady for two-year-old fillies. Coming off a world record-performance last week, American Jack Moiseyev drove the even-money favourite to victory in 1:51.0 ahead of L Dees Lioness and Cult Status.
"She's just a big, strong filly," Moiseyev said. "When she sees one coming she just gives you that little extra when you need it.''
I Luv The Nitelife returned $4.20, $2.60 and $2.80 while L Dees Lioness paid $2.80 and $2.50. Third-place finisher Cult Status paid $4.90.
Foiled Again captured the $787,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers to become the richest pacer in history with over $4.35 million in earnings.
"I can't say enough about this horse," said winning driver Yannick Gingras of Sorel, Que. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse for anybody and to be able to be the richest pacer of all time in a race like this, it's unbelievable.
"It just shows how great a horse he is.''
Foiled Again, a 14-1 pick, earned the victory in 1:48.3 in a race that featured a scorching half mile in 52.2 seconds — the fastest half ever registered at Mohawk. Betterthancheddar finished second while Bettor Sweet took third.
Foiled Again paid $30.30, $8.60 and $5.20 while Betterthancheddar returned $2.60 and $2.10. Bettor Sweet paid $6.00.