It was due to happen, especially when a horse a reigns supreme in a claiming class. But yesterday (June 16) at Monticello Raceway it was sort of a double whammy for Diamond Tiara, the harness horse currently with the most wins in North America. Not only did she taste defeat after nine consecutive victories but she went home to a new barn after being claimed for $9,000 from Philip Schultz by local trainer, Al Annunziata.
It took a tough trip to defeat the 7-year-oldpacing mare whose 14 seasonal wins are tops this year.
After starting from post six driver Jimmy Taggart, Jr. gunned her for the lead but two others, Extreme Terror on the pylons and Rusty's Flying (Jimmy Marohn, Jr.) inside her at post five, did the same. Rusty's Flying, was two- wide and gained the lead over Extreme Terror (Anthony Lake) while Diamond Tiara was hung three-deep before Rusty's Flying cleared and then finally let Diamond Tiara take command in a swift :27.4 first quarter.
Tagggart did get his mare a breather of sorts with a :30.2 second quarter as Marohn and Rusty's Flying hugged Taggart's back. They raced one-two up the backside and passed the third stanza in 1:28.1.
Although Diamond Tiara had two lengths on Rusty's Flying as they headed for home she couldn't hold off Marohn's pacer who had a perfect trip after relinquishing the lead. In the deep stretch Rusty's Flying used the passing lane to score a one length victory in the 1:57.3 clocked mile.
"We really got roughed up going to the quarter, more so than we ever did in all her starts," noted Diamond Tiara's driver, Jimmy Taggart, Jr. "But sooner or later that was bound to happen and even though she was tired she hung on gamely for second."
Back in the winner's circle Marohn was joined by Rusty's Flying's trainer Danny Gill whose broad smile spoke volumes.
After chasing Diamond Tiara in her last two starts where she finished fourth in both outings Rusty's Flying finally turned the table on her nemesis.
"We had the outside in the last two starts and I didn't leave with her," Marohn Jr. explained. "Being inside of her this week I took a shot and sent my mare out of there. When we made the front I let her (Diamond Tiara) go(take the lead) andwe had a good journey after that."
For Rusty's Flying, owned by Ed Hall, it marked her 10th seasonal triumph in 19 starts. She paid $3.50 for win.
by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway