On a sweltering late summer afternoon the crowds gathered at Scarborough to witness the inaugural running of the Irving Richardson Memorial Invitational. Seven top pacers assembled at the Seaside Oval to contest the $9,500 purse offering, and when the dust had settled, a new track record holder had been crowned.
Wholly Louy, arguably the best pacer in the State of Maine this season, rode a four-race win streak into battle on Saturday, and to add insult to injury, drew the coveted rail. The classy campaigner, owned by Michele L. Nelson of Temple, Maine, who has made a living racing on the lead, seemed guaranteed to be given a free pass to the front end, and that's exactly what happened.
"We were fortunate to gather seven top pacers together for this invitational but we were extremely disappointed when the post positions were drawn to find that Wholly Louy scored from the rail," said track announcer, Mike Sweeney. "Race Secretaries strive to put together the most competitive fields that they can, but drawing for post positions is out of their control. We thought this would be a pedestrian game of ‘follow the leader.' But boy, were we wrong."
Driver Gary Mosher sent the 8-year-old son ofmerrily on his way from the get-go, steaming to the opening quarter timed in 27.3. At that point the crowd fully expected Mosher to throttle back the early burst of speed but Mosher had different thoughts in mind, letting Wholly Louy roll to the half in a comfortable 56.1. Separating himself from the field with each and every stride from that point on, Wholly Louy was engaged in a test against time, driven to the wire in a track-record clocking of 1:53.1, supplanting Western Outfitter's 1:53.2 effort for Aged Geldings.
"It's not my style to send horses to the races looking for track records," said trainer Joe Nelson. "But this horse is sharp right now, and when I heard that the weather was going to be so ideal on Saturday, I told Gary to let this horse roll. We're going to give him some time off pretty soon, so if he ever was going to grab a track record, this was going to be the time."
Hotrod Falcon established the overall track record at Scarborough Downs way back in 1993 as Walter Case Jr. coaxed a 1:52.4 clocking from the gelding. Many times that record has been threatened but never equaled. Wholly Louy came as close as any today, equaling the second-fastest time ever recorded in the track's 62-year history.
Live racing continues at the Seaside Oval on Sunday at 1:05pm.
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