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The Ballad of Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - by John Manzi, publicity director, Monticello Raceway

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Monticello, NY --- When race horses do well it creates interest. But when they do real well the interest magnifies.

Case in point: Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, two of the top winning harness horses in North America today. Diamond Tiara has won 17 times this year while Shortest Distance has 16 wins. And both pacing mares compete at Monticello Raceway.

Diamond Tiara, a 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Diamond In The Rough, and Shortest Distance, a 9-year-old Park Place mare out of Camrissa, were quality mares in their youth and now against lesser talent they are stick-outs in their classes here at the Mighty M.

True, each mare’s number of wins is of interest and that they are one-two in races won this season on the continent adds to their appeal, but delving closer, one will find that each mare has been claimed three times in the past six weeks.

Now, that in itself is not revolutionary, but the fact that those doing the claiming are the same people each time is interesting.

Geri Schwarz photo
Shortest Distance was a 1:56.2 winner on Monday.

On Monday (July 28) at Monticello Raceway, Shortest Distance carried a $6,000 claiming tag in her race and went wire-to-wire, winning in 1:56.2 with Bruce Aldrich Jr. at the controls. When she got back to the paddock her previous owner Philip Schultz claimed her back from trainer Al Annunziata and owner Marissa Godinez, who claimed her from Schultz the previous week.

That same afternoon, Diamond Tiara, who used to be Schultz’s possession but is currently owned by Al Annunziata, was beaten a nose in her attempt to win her 18th race when Mike Merton, with Get Your Own, stalked her and driver Bruce Aldrich Jr. the entire mile and then beat Diamond Tiara in the final strides in a mile timed in 1:57.

On June 10 Annunziata claimed Diamond Tiara from Schultz for $9,000 and the following week Schultz claimed her back for the identical price. But on June 30 Annunziata took her home again for $9,000. On Monday, Schultz reclaimed Diamond Tiara for $9,000 from Annunziata.

Mike Watson was Diamond Tiara’s trainer when she won the overwhelming majority of her races this year, and now she, and Shortest Distance, will race from the Mike Watson barn, at least for next week!

So, for now, Philip Schultz owns the top two horses with the most wins this year. But it’s a good bet that this saga is not over yet.

Stay tuned.

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