EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Art Official had to set a world record to hand superhorse Somebeachsomewhere his first loss.
Art Official got up in the final strides after a thrilling stretch duel and scored a neck-length victory in the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday night.
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Somebeachsomewhere set the fastest Meadowlands Pace fractions for the half mile (51.4 seconds) and three-quarters (1:19.1) but the previously undefeated colt could not hold off Art Official in losing for the first time in 11 starts.
”I'm disappointed, but that's racing,“ said Brent MacGrath, the trainer of Somebeachsomewhere. ”We knew he would get beaten. They all get beaten. The horse raced great.“
Only the greatest race by a 3-year-old could beat him.
The winning time of 1:47 shattered the previous 3-year-old record of 1:47.4 set by American Ideal in 2002 at The Red Mile in Lexington, and it was just one-fifth of a second off the all-aged race record of 1:46.4 set by Holborn Hanover in 2006.
”I feel mixed emotions because he is a great colt,“ winning driver Ron Pierce said after handing Somebeachsomewhere his first loss. ”But I had to do my job and the value of my colt just skyrocketed.“
Art Official, who finished almost four lengths behind Somebeachsomewhere in last week's eliminations, returned $25.80, $4.80 and $3.20 in winning for the sixth time in 12 starts this year.
Somebeachsomewhere, who was the 1-9 favorite in the field of nine, paid $2.10 and $2.10 in just missing with driver Paul MacDonell.
Share The Delight and driver John Campbell finished third and returned $5 for show.
Gio Ponti wins Virginia Derby
PROVIDENCE FORGE, Va. — Gio Ponti took the lead in the upper stretch and held off a brief run by Colonial Turf Cup winner Sailor's Cap and a more determined effort by Court Vision to win the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on Saturday.
The stubborn colt stonewalled Court Vision's inside shot under Kent Desormeaux at the wire to prevail by a neck in 2:02.22.
Going down the stretch for the first time in the 1¼-mile turf event, jockey Garrett Gomez focused on Sailor's Cap and front-running Baltimore Bob and Old Man Buck.
”I was keeping an eye on both,“ Gomez said. ”I knew that they were going slow. I didn't want to give my horse too much to do. He places himself well and he's got a nice flowing stride. When I placed myself early on in the race, fairly close, I wasn't about to take that away from him. The idea was to keep an eye on Sailor's Cap.“
Music Note wins by 11 lengths
NEW YORK — Music Note beat entrymate Little Belle by 11 lengths Saturday in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park. Music Note cruised into contention on a three-wide move on the final turn and quickly sprinted clear in the lane. Javier Castellano hand-rode the filly to the wire as she won her third race in four starts.
■ A basement transformer fire shut down the grandstand at Belmont Park. Officials say Saturday's small fire was out quickly, but it knocked out power to parts of the track at about 10:30 a.m. No one was hurt, and the racing schedule wasn't disrupted.