Devileye Returns to Top Form in the Lightning Jet Handicap

Devileye Returns to Top Form in the Lightning Jet Handicap
Devileye rolls home all alone to win the 2019 Lightning Jet Handicap. (Photo: Four Footed Fotos)

STICKNEY, IL — Devileye made it look easy down the lane Saturday evening in the Lightning Jet Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course, cruising up the rail and opening up to a two-and-a-half-length victory in a field of seven Illinois-registered colts and geldings.

However, according to Devileye’s trainer Michele Boyce, the rest of the year hasn’t been as easy as the last three furlongs of his Lightning Jet triumph looked.  The Lightning Jet was just the S. D. Brilie LLP homebred’s third start of 2019.  “It’s been a long, hard struggle getting him right this year.  He had foot problems, one setback after another, and it all paid off.  I’ve got very patient owners.”

As long as his connections waited for Devileye to come back into the form that had brought him to the winners’ circle eight times before, including in three previous Illinois-bred stakes, Devileye made them wait for a tense few furlongs.

When the gates opened, Devileye broke with the pack but quickly lost touch with the rest of the field; he soon trailing half a dozen lengths behind his nearest foe.  Edgar Perez hustled Colonel Klink from the innermost gate, taking advantage of a rail that had been good all day.  W W Cookie Monster, directly to his outside, prompted the pace.  4/5 favorite Wynn Time stalked closest among the rest, a compact group save for the trailing Devileye.

Colonel Klink, with W W Cookie Monster attending, set a lively pace: 22.09 for the opening quarter, 45.40 for the half.  A line of three chased in striking range around the turn: Scarlet City inside, Wile E Peyote between, Wynn Time furthest outside.  What’s Up Dude settled just behind them.

Devileye still sat alone in last through the bend, but jockey Carlos Marquez got him gaining steam past the three eighths.  Into the lane, Devileye was even with What’s Up Dude, to his inside, still at the rear of the field but back in touch.  He sustained his run, dropping closer to the rail as he improved to midpack at the three sixteenths.  Near the furlong pole, he waited for room and endured the kickback from Colonel Klink’s and W W Cookie Monster’s hooves.  Past that mark he dove ever inward, shot between Colonel Klink and the fence, and rolled clear in the final sixteenth.

What’s Up Dude, finding his best stride in the final sixteenth of a mile, rallied for second in a blanket finish; just three quarters of a length separated second place from sixth.  Colonel Klink battled on for third, a head behind What’s Up Dude but a head in front of W W Cookie Monster.  Wynn Time was a neck behind him, with Wile E Peyote a neck back.  Scarlet City, five more lengths back after flattening in the lane, completed the order of finish.  Richiesinthehouse, Archiemyboy, and Riv were all trainer scratches.

“We were happy that there was at least a little speed in there,” said Devileye’s trainer Michele Boyce after the race, “and it turned out to be a lot, actually.  They set up nicely for him.  That’s his style: drop back so far you think ‘uh-oh, is he alright?’  And, when he kicks in, he kicks in good.  And, he loves the rail; fortunately he was able to get through and prevail.”

Devileye stopped the clock in 1:10.23 for six furlongs on fast dirt, and paid $14.40 to win.  The exacta over What’s Up Dude (4-9) returned $52.70 for a $1.00 wager.  The $0.50 trifecta with Colonel Klink third (4-9-2) came back with $141.65.  The $0.20 superfecta with W W Cookie Monster fourth (4-9-2-3) paid $191.36 for each $0.20 base bet.

The victory was the five-year-old Indygo Shiner gelding’s ninth in 16 career starts, and his fourth in stakes company.  The $33,180 winner’s share of the purse takes his lifetime earnings to $275,239.

Coincidentally, the same two broodmares produced the exacta in both of the weekend’s stakes races at Hawthorne.  In Friday evening’s Powerless Handicap, the first two across the wire, after a race-long duel, were Jean Elizabeth (Adios Charlie) and Puntsville (Cashel Castle).  Puntsville and Devileye are both out of the Petionville mare Deville.  The second-place runner behind Devileye in the Lightning Jet, What’s Up Dude, is by First Dude out of the Lit de Justice mare Rooney Doodle — who also produced Jean Elizabeth.

Though this time of year would typically mark the end of Devileye’s season, his 2019 campaign has been so short that he will likely race one more time, an allowance in December at Tampa Bay Downs.  Said Boyce, “We’ll probably try that, and then give him his vacation and hope to get him back at Arlington next year.”

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