Day At The Track

Obrigado track record in Cleveland Trotting Classic

03:22 AM 03 Jul 2016 NZST
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Obrigado, harness racing
Obrigado and driver Mark MacDonald capture the Cleveland Trotting Classic
Zamaiko photo

Obrigado avenged last year's Cleveland Trotting Classic defeat with an impressive track record victory on Saturday (July 2). Last year's runner-up trotted like he had something to prove and bested his competition by 5 ¾-lengths.

Obrigado ($3.40) started from the rail. He floated off the gate and two rivals were ahead of him at the 1/8-pole. Once the field was set, driver Mark MacDonald quarter-moved Obrigado. He took the lead just past the :27.2 opening quarter and never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile. He led his rivals through times of :56, 1:25 and 1:53.2.

"He (Obrigado) is really sharp right now. I got him to the front and let things play out from there," said MacDonald. "Once this horse is near the lead, he does the rest."

The 1:53.2 clocking replaces the 1:54.1 time of Kirty Dream (Aaron Merriman) as the fastest trotting mile ever on the Flying Turns for a five year-old and up gelded trotter. Kirty Dream's mark has held since 2014.

Saturday's win is Obrigado's fourth win this year and 38th lifetime score, increasing his bankroll to $1,109,749 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45.

Completing the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were Muscle Up The Goal, Shake It Cerry, Il Sogno Dream, Maestro Blue Chip, Homicide Hunter and Like Old Times.

"This is a great horse to drive. I love driving for Paul Kelley, and his owners are extremely patient," explained Mac Donald. "It is very meaningful to win races for guys like them."

by Ayres Ratliff, for Northfield Park

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