Fake Left real thing in Little Brown Jug

September 25, 1992|By Jack Patterson | Jack Patterson,Knight-Ridder

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Lightly regarded Fake Left won the 47th edition of the $556,210 Little Brown Jug yesterday, --ing the hopes of Western Hanover to win harness racing's Triple Crown.

A record crowd of 53,390 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds was shocked on a day when favorites ran more like they had been nipping from the Jug, rather than trying to win it.

Ho, ho, ho -- hee, hee, hee, indeed.

The only horse laughing at the finish of yesterday's marathon was Fake Left, who nipped Western Hanover by a nose in the first four-horse raceoff in Jug history.

Dismissed at odds of 9-1 in the preliminary heats, Fake Left beat Western Hanover by a neck to gain the raceoff.

But Western Hanover stayed alive by reversing the situation, beating Fake Left by a neck in a second heat.

Since a Jug winner must win two heats, that set the stage for the raceoff, which also included preliminary heat winners Crouch and Gamma Ray.

But it was Fake Left and Western Hanover all the way in the showdown. Fake Left went to the lead with Western Hanover second and tucked on the rail until the stretch turn.

It was there Western Hanover launched his bid for sulky history, and he and Fake Left came to the wire almost as a team. Fake Left prevailed in a photo so close the judges had to study a print before posting the finish.

With substitute driver Ron Waples diving, Fake Left was clocked in 1:54 4/5 in earning $160,744.

There was win betting only on the four-horse finale and Fake Left paid $7.20 as the second choice to Western Hanover, a 1-5 favorite to become only the eighth pacer to capture the Triple Crown. Crouch finished a distant third.

Waples, who hadn't planned to drive in the Jug, sat in for Mickey McNichol, who was injured slightly in a spill earlier on the Jug day program.

"I feel bad for Mickey," said Waples, "and I've got to be the luckiest guy alive. That's what makes it so special. My colt did everything I asked of him and more."

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