World record needed to upset Somebeachsomewhere
Canadian-owned colt loses by a neck in thrilling finish to Art Official
Art Official had to set a world record for three-year-old pacers to narrowly upset previously undefeated Nova Scotia-trained star Somebeachsomewhere in an amazing $1.1 million US Meadowlands Pace mile on Saturday night in East Rutherford, N.J.
The two horses staged a thrilling stretch duel with driver Ron Pierce getting the son of Art Major to the front in the closing strides for a neck-length victory in 1:47.
That time shattered the old three-year-old record of 1:47.4 set by American Ideal in 2002 at the Red Mile in Kentucky, and it was just one-fifth of a second off the all-aged race record of 1:46.4 set by Holborn Hanover in 2006.
Cambest had a 1:46.1 in a time trial in 1993.
Art Official, who finished almost four lengths behind Somebeachsomewhere in last week's eliminations, returned $25.80, $4.80 and $3.20 in winning for the sixth time in 12 starts this year.
Somebeachsomewhere, who had won his previous 10 starts and was the 1-9 favourite in the field of nine, paid $2.10 and $2.10 in just missing with driver Paul MacDonell.
"I'm disappointed, but that's racing," said Brent MacGrath, the trainer of Somebeachsomewhere. "We knew he would get beaten.
"They all get beaten. The horse raced great."
Only the greatest race by a three-year-old could beat him.
"I feel mixed emotions because he is a great colt," winning driver Ron Pierce said after handing Somebeachsomewhere his first loss. "But I had to do my job and the value of my colt just skyrocketed."
Art Official took the lead early and held it for almost the first half mile despite a challenge by Bullville Powerful.
Somebeachsomewhere then charged on the outside and took the lead just before the half in a sizzling 51.4 seconds.
"I mean I just took my shot at the half," MacDonell said. "I thought those two horses were chewed up at the half after 51 and a piece."
The son of Mach Three went past the three quarters in 1:19.1 with only Art Official behind him and everyone else competing for third.
Pierce moved his colt to the outside about halfway down the stretch and didn't collar the tiring Somebeachsomewhere until the final strides in posting the biggest upset in harness racing this year.
"My horse felt very good," Pierce said. "I just wasn't sure how much the other horse had left in his tank."