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DELAWARE, Ohio (AP) — Limelight Beach won the Little Brown Jug on Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, beating Let's Drink On It by 1 1/4 lengths in the second leg of the pacing Triple Crown.
Driven by Yannick Gingras, Limelight Beach led from the start and was never really threatened, finishing in 1:50.4.
"This is a dream come true coming here and winning the Little Brown Jug," Gingras said. "I won the Jugette twice, but to be able to get this one done is awesome."
Trainer Ron Burke was sure the half-mile track at Delaware would be good for Limelight Beach.
"The track fits him," Burke said. "This track fits him better than anything. The shorter stretch helps him, but you know what? Maybe he's coming into his own too, so he's getting better everytime. Hopefully this is the start of something, not the end of something."
Limelight Beach was winless in 12 starts this year before taking the second elimination in 1:51.0.
"Anybody that would listen, I would tell them I thought we had a legit shot," Burke said. "The horse set up perfect and we brought him here on Sunday to make sure I could work him here Monday, myself. I could tell he had been on the track before he was comfortable. He knew where the turns were coming, he knew where to lean and where to sprint.
"He's set for this track. This is his track. I think you'll see him do good elsewhere but this is where he's going to be better than anywhere."
Let's Drink On It, driven by Tyler Smith, won the first elimination, also in 1:51.0. At 21, Smith is the youngest driver to win a Little Brown Jug elimination.
Lyonssomewhere won the Cane Pace, the first leg of the pacing Triple Crown, at Tioga Downs on Sept. 1 in 1:49.4, but broke in the first elimination Thursday. The last pacing Triple Crown winner was No Pan Intended in 2003.
With McWicked finishing fifth in the final, trainer Casie Coleman was denied a third straight victory in the Little Brown Jug after winning with Vegas Vacation in 2013 and Michael's Power in 2012. No trainer has won three straight Jugs.
Limelight Beach earned $315,980 to push his season total at $468,738.
The third leg is Nov. 2 at Yonkers Raceway.
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