Lexington, KY --- Freshman trotting colts were in the Grand Circuit spotlight on Friday (Oct. 4) at The Red Mile in three divisions of the International Stallion Stake.
The opening $86,500 division saw Frank Bellino's Muscle Network trot to a new world record clocking of 1:53.2 in breaking his maiden in impressive fashion. The son of Muscle Hill-India Hall is trained by Tony O'Sullivan and was driven to victory by Jody Jamieson. He has now banked $66,939 in five lifetime starts.
|Nigel Soult photo|
|Muscle Network set a world record of 1:53.2 in winning his division of the International Stallion Stake.|
Shift Into Glide (David Miller) took this field of seven to the opening quarter in :28.1, before yielding to Odds On Amethyst (Tim Tetrick) who cut middle panels of :55.4 and 1:24.4.
Muscle Network ($12.40) came first over on the final turn, grabbed the lead in the lane and went on to break the former world record of 1:53.3 for a freshman trotting colt on a mile track, set by his sire, Muscle Hill. Monkey Man (Yannick Gingras) was second, 4-1/4 lengths behind the winner, while Shift Into Glide finished third and Odds On Amethyst faded to fourth.
Trainer Tony O'Sullivan commented on his trainee breaking his maiden with a world record.
"It probably never happens," he said. "You would have to check the record books but I don't think it's ever happened.
"I went a slow trip with him down in Vernon and he qualified and he seemed like such a natural trotter with speed. We hit some bumps at Vernon and we brought him down here to see what he could do and all week he just kept getting better and better.
"He's been enjoying jogging on this track all week and he has looked sharp. He's a beautiful horse and he certainly has everything to suggest, maybe not a world record, but that he would be a talented individual.
"We will take him to the farm down in New Jersey and then take a shot at the Breeders Crown."
Nigel Soult photo World record holder Outburst took the second division in 1:54.4 for driver Ron Pierce.
Owned by Adam Victor & Son Stable, Mirva Bogucki, and trainer Noel Daley, the son of Explosive Matter-Exquisite Lady posted his fifth win in eight lifetime efforts, lifting his career earnings to $132,904.
Outburst left alertly from the gate from post four but yielded to Muscle Midas (Brian Sears) who was on top at the opening panel in a time of :28. Pierce pulled Outburst from the pocket on the backstretch and they were back in front by the half-mile marker in :56.3.
Outburst ($3.00) took the field to the three-quarter pole in 1:26 and then trotted a final panel in :28.4 to hold off Muscle Midas by a half-length at the wire. It Really Matters was third for Tim Tetrick.
"This will set him up perfectly for the Kindergarten (Series) as he has two weeks before that race," said Daley. "He trains funny on the front at home and that's one of the reasons I had to geld him.
"I didn't really want him out there (on the lead) but I didn't tell Ronnie that because I figured it would probably happen as he was 1-2 (on the toteboard).
"I was pleased with him today. He was good."
The $86,500 final division saw E L Titan (Riina Rekila) get up in the final strides to nip Trixton (Jimmy Takter) at the wire in a lifetime best 1:53.4. Owned by Erkki Laakkonen and trained by Rekila, E L Titan (Muscle Hill-Courtney Hall) scored for the second time in just four lifetime starts and lifted his bankroll to $70,664.
Hillustrious and Ron Pierce were the early leaders here, taking the field to the opening quarter in :29.1 before yielding to Trixton, who cut middle fractions of :57 and 1:26.1.
E L Titan sat third for the opening half, then Rekila sent him first over at the three-quarter pole. Down the lane Trixton was game, but E L Titan wore him down at the wire and got up for the narrow victory. Hillustrious checked in for third.
"He is big and strong and a nice horse," said Rekila. "It's very special to win here and all my friends from Finland are here.
"We will take him to the Valley Victory if he comes out of this well, but will skip the Breeders Crown because two weeks is too soon. He's usually very quiet in the paddock at home but he has been wound up here. Also he was wide for most of the mile and I'd like to give him some time. He is a special horse to me."
-- Kimberly French contributed to this report