Over a track listed as good Trigger Finger and harness racing driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. rambled to a stunning 1:53.4 track record victory in the 21st edition of Monticello Raceway's Little Grey Jug on Tuesday afternoon, September 20.
The final time established a new track record for 3-year-old pacing geldings and erased the former standard of 1:54 set by Getting Personal and John Stark, Jr. on August 29, 1993.
After Pat Berry gunned last year’s Little Grey Jug winner, Jaguar Jet, to the lead, before they passed the quarter mile marker in :28 Mike Kimelman was out and going with favored Lillywhites. They ranged alongside Jaguar Jet and the two raced as a team by the half in :56 at which point Aldrich moved Trigger Finger, to the outside and they began to move upon the leaders from far back.
With Jaguar Jet on the inside and Lillywhites on the limb, the two still were neck-and-neck up the backside but trouble was looming in the presence of Trigger Finger.
When Aldrich moved his pacer three deep before the third stanza which was timed in1:25, the altered son of Gunthatwonthewest circled the leaders and drew off open lengths. At the head of the lane only the final time was in doubt and when it flashed 1:53.4 the was roar from the crowd knowing they had witnessed the fastest mile of the year here.
Despite going an overland route Lillywhites finished second and Jaguar Jet took home the show dough.
After the race one would have to search far and wide to find a happier man than Bruce Aldrich, Jr. who was grinning from ear to ear.
“This is a just great horse. He just gave me the fastest ride of my career on a half mile track,” Aldrich gushed. “Did you see all the ground we had to make up? When we caught them (the leaders) he zipped right to the front and we won it easily.”
Aldrich couldn’t thank trainer Leonard LeBlanc enough for allowing him to drive Trigger Finger. “Thanks for putting me down to drive. I really appreciate the chance to drive a horse like this,” Aldrich told LeBlanc. Trigger Finger is listed as a grey but at this stage (age three) he’s more roan than he is grey,” LeBlanc pointed out. “But as he gets he’ll get almost white.”
“You guys don’t know Leonard down here (in Monticello),” Aldrich told everyone in the winners circle.”.Leonard LeBlanc is a great trainer and a legend in New England. He was one of my childhood idols, too.”
Trigger Finger, who started from the eight-hole, was dismissed by the betting public and went off at odds of 7-1 and paid $16.40 for win. He’s owned by Noella LeBlanc and Donald Emond of Massachusetts.
Aldrich wasn’t the only one excited after Trigger Finger’s victory. After the ceremonies were completed announcer Howard Oil called down to the winners circle phone and said delightedly: “We’ve had a lot of track records since I came here in 1984 but this one (Trigger Finger’s) is the first one we ever had on an off track.”