Day At The Track

Yonkers win for Lauren and an old favorite

10:00 AM 03 Aug 2020 NZST
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Lauren and Shane Tritton with Flaming Flutter, after Lauren’s first winning drive in the US,Harness racing
Lauren and Shane Tritton with Flaming Flutter, after Lauren’s first winning drive in the US

Former "Down-under" champion harness racing reinswoman Lauren Tritton couldn't have scripted it any better.

Lauren, wife of accomplished trainer Shane, landed her first win in the USA with 11-year-old gelding Flaming Flutter at last Friday's Yonkers Raceway and Empire City Casino at New York.

The old timer (by Bettors Delight-Twice As Hot (In The Pocket) showed there's still spirit in those aging legs with a tough victory in a $17,250 event.

It was just Lauren's fourth drive in the US after moving from Australia four months ago.

"It was pretty exciting. It did give us a real buzz, particularly doing something like this on the other side of the world," Lauren said.

"It would certainly be up there with my most memorable achievements-it was a life goal I'd always thought about," she said.

"And it's a nice feeling to have the monkey off my back!"

Lauren makes no secret that Flaming Flutter, who Team Tritton races on lease from well-known Victorian horseman Geoff Webster, is her stable favorite.

"There was some talk of the horse being retired when we decided to try our luck in the US-but Shane talked them around," she said.

"He's a lovely old horse and I was just so rapt with his win because he had to do it hard over the last half. And his time of 1.51 for the race was super."

Watch the final stages of the race click here: 

Shane said he had to convince the other owners not to retire "Flame" and it did take some doing!

"I really wanted to bring him with us, but the funny thing is that I haven't sat in the seat behind him since! Lauren adores him and does all the work with him and he's her favorite by a long stretch."

Lauren Tritton has a highlight reel as long as your arm as a driver back home in Australia.

She's driven over 850 winners, became the youngest woman in Australian history to drive 500 winners, was the first female to win the NSW Metropolitan Driver's Premiership and she is a winner of over one hundred group-listed races.

Harness racing is unquestionably a male-dominated sport in the US, and despite Lauren's passion for competing at the top level, she isn't planning on regular engagements outside her Team Tritton appointments.

"I know there's quite a few over here who are surprised to see her drive, but I'm just so proud to see her out there competing," Shane said.

"There's no way Lauren would ever just want to do the races as a driver - you have to commit totally to it to be successful, and that means 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said.

"She thoroughly enjoys occasionally driving some of our team and maybe she will inspire some young girls to give it a go. There seem to be others who drive, but just at fairs and not the top level."

The maiden victory in the US by Lauren was part of "a good couple of days" for the team. Stable pin-up girl My Ruebe Star (Falcon Seelster-Zenola Star (New York Motoring) made it five wins from five starts when she claimed the $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap at Yonkers on Thursday.

"She's really on fire and we're so pleased because we really had to twist the arm of (NZ-based) owner Mike Siemelink to bring her to the US," Shane said.

"Mike sent her over to us from NZ in May last year with the idea to win some races at Menangle and get some quick times to her name and then breed from her. She won six races and was 4th in a Group 3 Final to Bright Energy in 1.50 after storming home from last," he said.

"So it was a bit of a radical change of plans, but of all of our horses, 'Ruby' has been the one to acclimatize the quickest. She's in great order; she's dappled up and jumping out of her skin and now we'll look at some of the big mares' races next year with her.

"Jordan Stratton has been driving her over here and he's stoked by the way she keeps stepping up. He hasn't had to pushed her right out yet and she's pulled up a treat again."

Shane said there was still a learning curve when it came to changes in training methods from the Australian way to the US.

"Probably one of the big differences is that we don't work them anywhere near as hard as we did back home. There's been a few other little adjustments along the way, but we'll keep learning and chipping away," he said.

"Obviously at some point they'll get on their marks, so we'll just keep making hay while the sun shines."

Team Tritton has established an enviable strike-rate since shipping to the States, winning a dozen races from about 40 starters.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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