Day At The Track

One more record and that's it - Mister Big

07:21 AM 27 Jul 2009 NZST
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Mister Big and Brian Sears have too much Mister big's winning connections
Mister Big and Brian Sears have too much - in reserve for Art Official and Ron Pierce.
Mister big's winning connections - hold the Ben Franklin glass Cup aloft soon after the win.

It was befitting the world's richest racing stallion Mister Big equaled the world record of 1:48 on a five eighths of a mile track not far from the home of his 85-year-old owner, Joe Muscara. Not long after Mister Big's ($5.60) gutsy win in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace, Muscara told Harnesslink from his house in the Philadelphia suburbs exactly when the 6-year-old would be retired.

"He's the greatest racehorse I've owned. I could have retired him by now, but he's unbelievable, he never stops surprising me. This time he has staggered me. What a fantastic run! He deserves one more world record and the moment he achieves that - his career will finish. I owe it to him. He's special," Muscara said.

The world record Muscara was referring to wasn't bettering the 1:48 mark Mister Big and Artistic Fella have set in the last two Ben Franklin Miles. . . but for Mister Big to become the richest harness racehorse ever. The son of Grinfromeartoear is currently second on the all-time Northern American stakes record list with $3,824,290.

His 32nd win from his 74th start ensured he surpassed Boulder Creek's career record of $3,815,924. It took the 9-year-old Pacific Rocket gelding 173 starts (42 wins) to achieve that record. He last started at Harrah's on July 16.

But the record holder is Gallo Blue Chip, who amassed $4,293,108 from 1999-2005. That 12-year-old Magical Mike gelding won 53 times from his 133 starts.

"Mister Big has achieved his stakes very fast. This is just his third year racing for me. I know I keep saying it, but he's unbelievable. I'm hoping he will reach the record mark within 80 races," Muscara said.

Muscara has owned lots of good horses over the years and several very good ones. He rates Mister big even better than Mach Three and Trump Casino.

"Mach Three and Trump Casino were very good horses but Mister Big for me Mister Big is another level above them. This fella has a bit of the x-factor about him. He's achieved so much so quickly and he deserves to stand at stud," Muscara said.

Mister Big will stand at stand at Tara Hills (Ontario) but Muscara said he would follow the same breeding path as Mach Three which means he will also stand in Australia and New Zealand.

The Ben Franklin was one of the few stakes races Mister Big failed to capture after finishing second in the race last year. An amazing feat considering the two-time defending Older Pacing Horse of the Year was bought for $250,000 at the Harrisburg Sales as a 3-year-old.

The Virgil Morgan junior trained and Brian Sears driven Mister Big, will next start in the United States Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands on August 8. He has raced six times this season for three wins, three placings and $470,510. He has finished worse than third just three times in his last 35 races.

Sears settled Mister Big in the trail from his ace draw before going to sit in the parked out position with a lap remaining. He loomed up outside pace-maker Art Official for the remainder before leaving him to it half-way down the home straight. However nothing could be taken away from Art Official's tough performance. The Art Major 4-year-old set up a torrid pace with lightning sectionals of 25.2, 54.1, 1:20.4, and 1:48.

Won the West (David Miller), who tired briefly on the far turn before re-rallying and ducking in, was placed third after Foiled Again was disqualified for interference to Bettor Sweet.

"I knew Ron used his horse up early and I always felt good sitting outside him. However my horse does have a tendency to switch off when he gets to the front. He thinks its over - that's why I didn't go too early. He felt super. He's a great racehorse," Sears said.

"He's Mister Big. He looks them in the eye and wears him down. When he's on his game, they don't want to see him coming," he added.

Meanwhile Morgan had the following to say:

"We elected to take the one post and there was some controversy over that because of the slanted (starting) gate. But we felt he had enough gate speed and we had to get away at least third or better. It worked out good."

It's a trainer's dream to have a horse of his caliber that can race as consistent as he can," Morgan said. "Hopefully all systems are go from here on out."

The Ben Franklin finishing order was Mister Big, Art Official, Won The West, Bettor Sweet, Foiled Again, Noble Falcon, Western Shore, and Winbak Speed.

Duane RANGER (editor)

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