Day At The Track

$1 million Maverick wins career debut

03:16 PM 18 Aug 2020 NZST
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Maverick, harness racing
Maverick won his first pari-mutuel start at the Red Mile
Steve Wolf photo

Hightstown, NJ — The $1.1-million harness racing yearling is now the 1-for-1 racehorse.

Maverick, a trotting colt who last fall became the highest-priced yearling in harness racing history, won his career debut Monday at Lexington’s Red Mile, capturing a $5,000 event for 2-year-olds by 1-1/2 lengths over Tangled Love in 1:57.2. Immigrant AM S was third.

Joe Bongiorno drove Maverick for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Maverick Racing.

Immigrant AM S led the field to the opening quarter in :29.2. Maverick was third, but already on his way to take over the lead, which he did prior to reaching the half in :58.3. The colt remained on top from there, hitting three-quarters in 1:28.4 before coming home with a :28.3 final quarter.

Maverick was the 2-1 second choice behind 4-5 favorite Argyle, who finished fourth.

“He looked well within himself,” said Brad Grant, one of the owners in the Maverick Racing group. “I haven’t talked to Tony, but you’re always pleased when in their first start they get a win. I thought Joey did a great job driving him and being safe with him. We sure can’t complain. We’ll see how he came out of it and what Tony has to say.”

“I’m very happy with his first start,” Alagna told harnessracing.com shortly afterward. “Maverick was comfortable and strong through the wire. Joe was very impressed with him.”

Maverick, by Father Patrick out of Designed To Be, is a full brother to 2019 Trotter of the Year Greenshoe. He was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, who also are members of the ownership group. Maverick’s purchase price at the Lexington Selected Sale eclipsed the previous record of $825,000 for trotting colt Detour Hanover at the 2011 Standardbred Horse Sale.

“You try to treat (Maverick’s first start) the same as every other race and every other race day,” Grant said. “There’s no pressure on anybody, you just find out how he races.”

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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