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Tom Ridge in record win in World Trotting Derby first heat
Saturday, September 04, 2004 - by Harness Racing Communications, a division of the USTA

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DuQUOIN, Ill. -- Ron Pierce was willing to just let Tom Ridge roll.

Photo: Tim M. Jones.

Tom Ridge, driven by Ron Pierce, cruises to a world record 1:51 win in the first heat of the World Trotting Derby at DuQuoin.
Pierce, believing he rated Tom Ridge too much in the Hambletonian, moved his trotter to the front of Saturday's World Trotting Derby first-heat field and never looked back, stopping the timer in 1:51, a world record for a three-year-old and just one-fifth of a second off Victory Tilly's all-age mark for trotters.

Cantab Hall, in what essentially became a two-horse race, followed Tom Ridge the entire mile but was unable to close on his rival in the stretch. Coventry was third. The horses will return for the second heat at approximately 2:40 p.m. Central.

"I went to the top and tried rating him, but then I thought, let's not rate him too much because the Hambletonian was in the back of my mind," Pierce said. "I thought I rated him too much in the Hambletonian. I wasn't going to make that mistake again, in case it was me and not the horse. I think he's better if you let him roll along."

Tom Ridge, who underwent surgery for a displaced palate after an eighth-place finish in the Hambletonian, went through fractions of :27.1, :55.1 and 1:22.2 en route to the win in the first heat of the World Trotting Derby. He was coming off a third-place finish in the Yonkers Trot.

"This is a serious horses -- we've known it all along," Pierce said. "I think he'll be good for the second heat. His eyes were clear, his ears were up and he wasn't blowing hard. Hopefully, he'll come back strong."

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