Driver Ron Pierce looked back on the turn for home and saw lengths of empty track between his colt, Well, Said, and the pack, a margin that would grow as they scored a six-length victory in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the Meadowlands.
For Mark Mullen of Fair Winds Farm, who owns's dam, Must See, in partnership with Steve Jones of New York's Cameo Hill Farms, this was another stellar accomplishment for his Cream Ridge, NJ broodmare band.
, who got his start at Fair Winds, tripped the Meadowlands timer in 1:47.3, a career best and only three-fifths shy of the stakes record of 1:47 established by in 2008.
"The race was almost surreal," noted Mullen, who was in the winner's circle to watch the joyous scene. "When he came first-over I thought we could be in trouble. When he ‘sailed' byI thought, well, now we're in trouble because he's just going too much, and down the lane I figured, well, now he must be tired and they're going to catch him. Man, was I wrong. It was a devastating performance.
Unlike last year whenupset eventual Horse of the Year , this finish went to the public's choice who was sent off as the 2-5 favorite.
was well-prepared, so sharp that Pierce could not contain the son of -Must See by , letting him roll to the lead before the half. By the three-quarters, the youngster had cleared the competition by four lengths and was up by six lengths at the wire. It was not a record margin - that belongs to Nihilator's seven and a quarter lengths in 1985.
"Around the first turn, I wanted to sit him in but Steve [trainer Steve Elliott] had him too sharp," Pierce said. "He was looking around at Dave Palone's whip [driving Schoolkids], and I just said there's no sense in messing around, we're going for $1 million. John [Campbell and] went to the top, and I just kind of moseyed on up there to the lead and just kept on going. This colt was wicked. I would say he's by far the fastest colt I've ever driven in my life."
"moseyed" to the lead in a 53.4 half, tossing in a 54.1 middle half - including a 26.3 third-quarter, en route to Pace victory before a crowd of 12,872.
"It was a big move, but the colt did it easily," Pierce added. "The colt felt super. I knew he had another 27-second quarter in him [27.1 final quarter]. I chased him in the lane just to make sure he stayed focused. He has had a habit of waiting for horses when he gets to the top. I never touched him with the whip. I just hit the disc [of the wheel] and kept his mind on it."
It was the fourth straight win for, who provided Pierce with his second consecutive Meadowlands Pace victory and his third overall. His other two were in 1997 and in 2008. It was the second Pace victory for trainer Steve Elliott, who won with in 2006.
"He's been sharp and good horses make trainers look good," Elliott said. "I think he's better with a target, but, as he showed tonight, he can win either way. He has the Adios [at The Meadows] next week if we choose to go there. He will definitely be back here for the Holmes [August 8 at the Meadowlands]."
With the victory, the ninth of his career and 14th in-the-money finish in 18 tries,vindicated his sizable yearling price -- $240,000 - by lifting his earnings to $1,798,808.
has now won both of harness racing's million-dollar challenges for three-year-old pacers and became the eighth colt to have both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace to his credit.
Owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York City and the Lothlorien [Susan Grange] of Ontario had shared a Meadowlands Pace victory in 2005 withand Snyder had his first Pace champion in 1994 with Cam's Card Shark.
Both Cam's Card Shark andare New Jersey-based stallions at Hanover Shoe of New Jersey and Perretti Farms, respectively.
As for's dam, Must See, who banked $487,122 on the track, she did not have a baby this year but is in foal to 2008 Horse of the Year . Her daughter is scheduled to sell this fall at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA.
"I was joking with [co-breeder] Steve Jones afterwards that we sold him for $240,000, but now we're going to be buying him back in the millions [as a stallion]," said Mullen, a member of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey Board of Directors.
"You know it's a horse breeder's goal, or perhaps dream, to raise great looking yearlings that sell for a lot of money, that go on and live up to all expectations, he added. "is all of that and more. We're very proud to have raised him and to have that kind of elite broodmare at the farm."