Google Me bows out in style
Google Me bowed out of local harness racing in a blaze of glory at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre yesterday.
The Indiana-bred pony broke multiple track records en route to becoming the first mare to win the prestigious season-ending Champion of Champions.
Competing with driver Candyce Martins, 17, in the sulky, the five-year-old set a new track record, the mare’s record and the four-year-old’s record, which the pony already owned, during the qualifying heats for the Champion of Champions Final Dash on Saturday.
Racing on the rail, Google Me led the field across the finish line in a lifetime best time of 1:01/1, shaving a fifth of a second off the overall track record, set by Random Stable’s gelding War Machine last December.
Martins and Google Me then capped a phenomenal weekend at the track by winning the Champion of Champions title, having achieved the fastest average time of 2:05/3 over the two heats in the Final Dash yesterday.
“This is incredible for a mare at five years old,” Robert Lopes, Google Me’s co-owner, said. “She is amazing and I’m very surprised with the results.”
Lopes’s pony clinched the title in spectacular fashion in the second and final heat of the Final Dash.
Running in the two-hold, Google Me overtook leader Cherokee’s Ironman on the final back stretch to lead the four-pony field across the line. Martins’s triumph came exactly a year to the day after she fractured multiple bones in a serious bike accident.
“I gave her the pony last year and she raced a couple of races but then had an accident and couldn’t race no more,” Lopes said. “I made an agreement that she can take the pony this season.
“She started training her in July. Throughout the season she was at the stable every morning at 5.30am, jogging on this track when most children her age are probably at home in bed sleeping. She would do this before school with 110 per cent dedication.”
Google Me set multiple track records on the same day Martins’s father, Paul, celebrated his birthday.
“I was really shocked because I wasn’t trying to get the record,” Martins said. “I was just trying to make it into the final.
“It was a nice start and the pony stayed consistent throughout the whole race.”
Lopes’s pony was immediately retired after being crowned Champion of Champions.
“She is retired as of today,” he said. “She wore her last colours today. Our racing colours are blue, gold and lime green and our motto is, ‘Lime green is fast’.”
Cherokee’s Ironman pipped Simsfield Hardtimes for runners-up honours in the Champion of Champions on a tie-break after the two geldings finished with the identical average time of 2:06/2.
Reel Patrol was the remaining pony that competed in the Final Dash.
Charles Whited Jr, the Driving Horse and Pony Club president, described the event as a “huge success”.
He said: “As anticipated, this year’s Champion of Champions proved to be one of the best in many years. I would like to congratulate all participants for an amazing weekend and season.”