It wasn’t a battle of the titans at Monticello Raceway on Monday afternoon (Sept 8), it was, however, a confrontation between Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, the two harness horses with the most victories, (18) in North America this season.
Actually the two had confronted one another back on August 25th and both finished off the board. But on Monday, Shortest Distance prevailed and her 19th seasonal triumph makes her the clear leader in races won by a Standardbred tin 2014.
Bruce Aldrich Jr. was again at the controls behind the 6 year old Park Place mare as they easily scored a five length victory in 1:55.1 after starting from post position three. Future Rock Star and Zeke Parker finished second while Givemybest Hanover was third for Larry Stalbaum.
After the race an excited Aldrich chirped “I did it my way” which he referred to racing Shortest Distance out of a hole.
“We had the three- hole and they wanted me to go to the front around Diamond Tiara (post 2) and Jimmy’s (Devaux) mare (Latin Lyric on the pole position) but they were head-to -head and wide open on the first turn so I ducked in along the pylons behind them. But as I was doing that I was thinking, if this doesn’t work it would be all my fault (for not winning the race) since Al (Annunziata-the mare’s trainer) wanted me to race her on the front-end.”
Devaux finally allowed Jimmy Taggart, Jr. and Diamond Tiara to take command as they passed the first quarter in 28.2. From there Diamond Tiara had command all the way until the three quarters where Shortest Distance zoomed by her and went on to an easy victory.
In the lane Diamond Tiara had broken equipment and barely finished when Taggart got off the bike and had assistance taking the sulky off the mare who moseyed home and finished sixth.
In the winners circle trainer Al Annunziata acknowledged he wanted Aldrich to race his mare on the front-end but he was smiling and happy with the results just the same.
Shortest Distance, owned by Marissa Godinez, returned a $5.10 win payoff. And for Bruce Aldrich, Jr., it was one of four winners on the card for him and his seasonal total of 399 driving victories currently places him sixth in races won in North America.
There must be something in the Catskill Mountain air that again this year Monticello Raceway, in the county Seat of the former Borsht Belt, has the horse with the most victories this season like it did with Tracy’s Song until the final night of the 2013 campaign. But this year there are three at the top of the lists. The other, a trotter, Rose Run Nash from the Danny Gill barn, has 17 wins is tops in the trotting division.