While multiple stakes winner Father Patrick threatened Muscle Hill's world record for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings early in the night, it was upsetter Outburst who etched his name in the record books with his 1:53.1 triumph in Friday's Bluegrass Series at The Red Mile.
Father Patrick kicked off the Bluegrass Series action with an easy 1:54 victory for trainer Jimmy Takter.
Driver Yannick Gingras pulled the streaking Father Patrick from the pocket after the :28.4 opening quarter in the first $90,100 division and cruised through middle splits of :58 and 1:27 en route to the uncontested victory. Lightning Force (John Campbell) and Raise The Curtain (Sylvain Filion) rounded out the top three finishers.
Previously coming to close to Muscle Hill's divisional world record on multiple occasions, Father Patrick's winning time in the Bluegrass was just two-fifths of a second off the 1:53.3 mark.
"He's a very, very special horse," said Gingras, who indicated he has not pulled the earplugs on the colt in his last six races. "I haven't turned him loose yet. He can go so fast it's scary."
Victorious in every stakes event he's entered, the Cantab Hall-Gala Dream colt now boasts eight wins in nine starts with his only career loss in a two-year-old race in July at The Meadowlands where he finished second by just a head. Father Patrick's Bluegrass win boosted his bankroll to nearly $490,000 for the New Jersey-based Father Patrick Stable.
The 1-9 overwhelming favourite paid $2.10 to win.
Father Patrick will be skipping next weekend's Grand Circuit action at The Red Mile as he prepares for the Breeders Crown.
From the first crop of Muscle Hill, Odds On Amethyst wired the second set of freshman trotting colts and geldings in 1:54.2 for trainer Robin Schadt and Illinois' Odds On Racing.
Driven by Tim Tetrick, the even-money favourite established the lead from post four and never looked back through fractions of :28.2, :58 and 1:27. He prevailed by open lengths while second over Muscle Network (Jody Jamieson) came on for second. Shift Into Glide (David Miller) finished third.
"He did everything right," commented Tetrick after the victory. "He's got some ability, he's a little head-strong at times, but he let me do my thing with him and he relaxed for me.
"Father Patrick, he's pretty special. This horse [Odds On Amethyst] is not going to embarrass himself if he stays trotting. He's made some mistakes, but he's on the right path right now. Today we didn't pull the plugs and he had plenty left. So can he go with Father Patrick? We'll have to see."
The lightly raced colt earned his second win from five starts and more than doubled his bankroll, which now stands at $80,550.
The final freshman trotting colt and gelding division was the fastest as Outburst nosed out 1-5 favourite Southwind Spirit to set the new world record.
Leaving from post three, Southwind Spirit (Yannick Gingras) established the lead with post six starter Outburst and catch-driver Ron Pierce following in second through fractions of :28.3, :57 and 1:25.3. Outburst launched his attack down the stretch and edged by the leader just in time to shave two-fifths of a second off the world record. Trixton (Jimmy Takter) finished third.
"We were [close]; my horse was hanging on the right line a little bit," said Pierce of the stretch battle. "To get his nose past Yannick I had to just kind of turn his head loose a little bit and we got a little closer. I thought I nailed him [at the wire]."
Outburst earned the biggest victory of his seven-race career and doubled his bankroll to nearly $90,000. Noel Daley trains and co-owns the four-time winner with Adam Victor And Son Stable of New York and New Jersey's Mirva Bogucki.
The victory helped Pierce, who has driven 8,907 winners in his career, pass the $200 million (U.S.) purse earnings mark during Friday's harness racing card.
Sent postward at odds of 7-1, Outburst paid $16.20.
Precocious Beauty pushed her stakes win streak to five with a 1:51 first over score in the first $85,900 two-year-old pacing filly division of the Bluegrass Series for Team McNair.
Trained by Gregg McNair and driven by his son Doug, Precocious Beauty settled away fifth from post eight through opening fractions of :27.1 and :54.2 while the lead changed hands before launching a first over attack en route to the 1:24.3 third quarter station. The 1-2 favourite wore down the leading Beach Gal (Scott Zeron) with a sixteenth of a mile to go and drew clear for the victory. Southwind Silence (Yannick Gingras) overtook Beach Gal for the runner-up honours.
Owned and bred by Kentucky's James Avritt Sr., the Art Major-Precious Beauty filly now boasts six wins and two seconds in eight starts with earnings totalling $419,012. She's already collected trophies in the Eternal Camnation, Shes A Great Lady and Champlain Stakes prior to the Bluegrass victory.
"It's hard to believe, isn't it? It's hard for me to believe," laughed Avritt when discussing the homebred filly's success in a post-race interview. "I've bred 13 or 14 mares this year and that's about typical. I keep saying I'm going to cut back, but that doesn't happen."
Precocious Beauty is expected to return to The Red Mile next weekend for more Grand circuit action.
Tony O'Sullivan trainee Shes Da Bomb overcame an outside post 10 start with Jody Jamieson aboard to win the $86,900 second freshman pacing filly division in 1:50.3.
Shes Da Bomb's winning time just missed the divisional track record held by the Jamieson-driven Big McDeal and was two-fifths off I Luv The Nitelife's world record.
There was lots of action early on as four fillies took turns on top through opening panels of :27.2 and :54. Last to the lead at the mid-way mark was Lasting Appeal (John Campbell) and she fronted the field down the backstretch while Jamieson moved even-money favourite Shes Da Bomb up alongside to engage in a head-to-head duel past the 1:21.4 third quarter mark. Shes Da Bomb eventually edged by down the stretch to post a one and a half length victory with Allstar Rating coming on for second over Lasting Appeal.
"This filly is a friggin' creature. She's unreal," said Jamieson. "I didn't use her much before the half, but she did a lot of work from the half on. She was just waiting on them in the stretch, she wasn't all done. I'm ecstatic to have the chance to keep driving her and hopefully it's going to be a really productive year in the next couple of weeks."
The Art Major-Armbro Bobay filly is now five-for-six in her career with earnings amounting to nearly $175,000 for New York owner Frank Bellino.
She will look to continue her success in the Breeders Crown next.
Uffizi Hanover wrapped up Friday's stakes action with a 1:50.3 maiden-breaking victory in the final $86,900 division for two-year-old pacing fillies.
After following from the back of the 10-horse field through fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:23, Uffizi Hanover unleashed :26.1 final quarter speed to go from last to first for driver David Miller. She prevailed by three-quarters of a length over the closing favourite, Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell). I Need Hotstuff (Yannick Gingras) finished third.
"When I pulled her out, she hit another gear and took off," said Miller. "I thought for sure I was too far out of it, but she set sail turning for home and got by."
The victory gave trainer Jimmy Takter a stakes double. Uffizi Hanover is owned by Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ont. along with Toronto's Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband. The eight-time starter now has earnings of $90,565.
The 6-1 second choice in the wagering, Uffizi Hanover paid $14.20 to win.