Those who had a “need for speed” were not disappointed that day. No less than five track records fell on the $2.4 million Super Stakes Sunday card which featured some of harness racing’s greatest trotting and pacing stars, with Well Said putting an exclamation mark on the card by winning the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine in 1:50.
In the very first race of the card, Sawgrass Farms’ Annieswesterncard lowered the track standard for 3-year-old pacing geldings when he paced his mile in 1:49.4 behind the handling of Dan Dube, erasing Lather Machine’s time of 1:50.1 set at Chester in 2006.
The second race saw Lindy Racing Stable and Robert Rudolph’s Airzoom Lindy, with Tim Tetrick in the sulky, break Crazed’s 1:53.2 track record set last year and equal Caviar Crown’s 1:53.1 world record for 3-year-old trotting colts set at Pocono Downs in 2008.
In the fifth race $100,000 Battle of the Brandywine Consolation I, Tetrick guided Anthony Nichols’ Fire On The Water to a 1:49.3 track record for 3-year-old pacing colts. The time eclipsed Artistic Fella’s record of 1:50.1 accomplished in 2006.
Francis Azur’s Lookout Hanover, with Corey Callahan in the sulky, topped his own 1:49.2 track record -- held jointly with Art Official -- in the sixth race on the card.
And that was just the undercard.
The featured stakes, the $350,000 Valley Forge, the $500,000 Colonial Trot, and the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine produced their own brand of drama.
In the Valley Forge for 3-year-old pacing fillies, the 2-5 favorite Not Enough saw her 10-for-10 unbeaten season go by the boards as 22-1 longshot Special Sweetheart, driven by David Miller, rallied strongly through the stretch to score a one length upset.
Not Enough was taken to the lead by Tetrick before the midway point of the mile in :55.1 and stayed there until the final turn when Blogette Hanover (Brian Sears) charged up to challenge the leader with Special Sweetheart follwing her cover.
Through the stretch, Tetrick asked his filly for more but Not Enough had just that -- not enough -- and began to weaken. Blogette Hanover got the lead momentarily in mid-stretch but quit late as Special Sweetheart found another gear and blew by for the 1:51 victory. Ginger And Fred (Dave Palone) closed well for second, just ahead of Not Enough.
“I figured there would be a good deal of speed early,” Miller said. “I was in a good spot following Brian (Blogette Hanover) and my filly was able to finish strong.”
Tetrick had no answer for the disappointing showing of Not Enough.
“The fractions didn’t hurt her; she got the lead pretty easy,” Tetrick said. “She just wasn’t on her game. She had nothing through the stretch. Just no excuse.”
Special Sweetheart, a daughter of Western Ideal, is owned by 4 for 3 Stable and is trained by Anette Lorentzon.
In the $500,000 Colonial Trot, Adam Victor and Son Stable’s Explosive Matter powered to a new world record of 1:53 for 3-year-old trotting colts with Ron Pierce in the bike.
Explosive Matter got the lead after the start and briefly yielded the top to Russell Hill (John Campbell) before ranging up to take command just before the half, which was timed in :55.4. Once in front, the son of Cantab Hall controlled the fractions the remainder of the mile, passing the three panel mark in 1:24 before crossing the wire 2-1/2 lengths in front in the world record time of 1:53. The Chancellor (Andy Miller) rallied to earn the place spot with Calchips Bruce (Brian Sears) taking third.
The clocking topped the previous world record of 1:53.1 co-owned by Airzoom Lindy, which was set earlier in the card, and Caviar Crown.
Pierce was impressed with the ease with which his charge won.
“He was well within himself the whole mile,” said Pierce. “As far as the world record goes, we were just out to win and weren’t thinking about any records. In fact we wanted to win as easily as we could. I just swatted him a couple of times through the stretch and that was about it.”
Explosive Matter, who is conditioned by Noel Daley, passed three-quarters of a million dollars in earnings this season with his victory in the Colonial.
The $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine went to Jeffrey Snyder and Lothlorien’s Well Said with Pierce at the reins.
Pierce took Well Said off the gate at the start and settled into fifth as Chasin Racin (David Miller) led the field through modest opening fractions of :27.2 and :55.4 for the first half-mile. Down the backstretch, Mr Wiggles (Corey Callahan) had worked himself into contention first over with Well Said following his cover.
Approaching the three panel mark, Pierce angled Well Said three wide, and moved him steadily on the leaders until he was just a neck behind as the field hit three-quarters in 1:22.4. Through the stretch, Pierce urged Well Said and the son of Western Hanover responded, scoring a 1-3/4 length tally in a final time of 1:50. The pacesetter, Chasin Racin, held gamely for second with a late arriving Vintage Master (Dan Dube) salvaging the show spot.
When asked if he was concerned about the early fractions, Pierce replied, “It did cross my mind that they weren’t going that much early, but I wasn’t worried because I knew how much horse I had and how fast he could go.”
Pierce added, “When we moved to the outside down the backside, Mr Wiggles wasn’t going enough so I tipped him three wide and made a race of it. We were really flying going around the turn. He went a big mile.”
Trained by Steve Elliott, Well Said upped his 2009 earnings to better than $1.5 million with his Battle of the Brandywine score. The victory gave Pierce a sweep of the biggest races on the card.
“It feels good,” Pierce said. “But I really expected to win both. I’d have been disappointed if either of them got beat.”