Two winningest horses in nation now in same barn

02:38 AM 30 Jul 2014 NZST
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Shortest Distance, harness racing
Shortest Distance posts her 15th win this year
Photo by Geri Schwarz

When race horses do well it creates interes and when they do really well the interest magnifies.

Case in point: Diamond Tiara and Shortest Distance, two of the winningest 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.

Yesterday (Mon. 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 for owner, Marissa Godinez who claimed her from Schultz the previous week.

That same afternoon, Diamond Tiara, who used to be Schultz's possession but 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 wait, on June 30 Annunziata took her home again for $9,000. Yesterday (July 28), Schultz reclaimed Diamond Tiara for $9,000 from Annunziata.

But hold on, Schultz wasn't done plunking down his denero.

After her 16th victory, Schultz reclaimed Shortest Distance from Marissa Godinez --whose trainer, is the aforementioned, Al Annunziata- who claimed her from Schultz last week.

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 Shultz 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.

by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway

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