Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas
On Saturday, July 19, at the Meadowlands, Art Official and driver Ron Pierce shocked the harness racing world as they left to the lead. gave it up to the undefeated superstar Somebeachsomewhere (Paul MacDonell) past the unbelievable 51.4 half, and then pulled the pocket and wore down the leader to win the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace in 1:47, the second fastest race-mile in the history of harness racing.
As the gate pulled away, Mucho Sleazy (Dave Miller), Art Official (Pierce) and Bullville Powerful (Yannick Gingras) blasted out for the lead while Somebeachsomewhere (MacDonell) protected his post two position by staying two-wide around the first turn. Mucho Sleazy made the lead and Art Official took the top past the 26 flat first quarter. Then the race got interesting as Bullville Powerful ranged up on the outside and Somebeachsomewhere followed him. But Pierce wouldn’t let Bullville Powerful go (after the race, Pierce would say Bullville was “laboring” to reach him) and that caused MacDonell to go three-wide down the backstretch with Somebeachsomewhere to engage the leader past the staggering 51.4 half-mile.
Somebeachsomewhere then made the top and Art Official sat the pocket during the 27.2 breather (if there is such a thing) as the leader hit the three-quarter mark in a mind-boggling 1:19.1. Pierce, having braved up his horse in the pocket, actually seemed to pull the pocket around the final turn, then ducked back in briefly, then pulled the pocket again in the stretch. This began a stirring stretch drive as the two horses left the rest of the field five lengths in their wake. Both were dead game but Pierce reached up and gave Art Official a couple of whacks with the whip as he surged forward in the deep stretch to beat the unbeatable Somebeachsomewhere by a neck in 1:47, the fastest three-year-old race mile in the history of harness racing. Only aged-horse Holborn Hanover’s 1:46.4 ranks ahead of Art Official’s 2008 Meadowlands Pace.
Share the Delight (John Campbell) hugged the inside from his post one and finished third, beaten five-and-a-quarter lengths. Mucho Sleazy got fourth money and Sand Shooter (Tim Tetrick) finished fifth.
After the race, Pierce said he was confident in his horse: “I felt confident in the stretch. He swelled up and when I tipped him, the question was then to catch Somebeach.” Pierce and Art Official did just that before the Meadowlands crowd of 17,000 on a very hot night (89 degrees at first post).
Somebeachsomewhere was awesome in defeat. After 10 consecutive victories, he was viewed to be the next super horse. And he still might be, as he raced a fabulous race, despite being beaten by a horse who parked two horses to 51.4. After the race, his driver, Paul MacDonell, said: “Yannick [Gingras, driver of Bullville Powerful] left me out longer than I wanted to be. In the stretch, I still had a lot of horse. I give Somebeachsomewhere all the credit and Art Official all the credit.”
Art Official won his sixth race in 27 lifetime starts for trainer Joe Seekman and owner Sawgrass Farms, LLC of Lockport, Illinois. The Art Major colt passed the million dollar mark in lifetime earnings, which now stand at $1,000,88
© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas. All rights reserved.