Raynor: Special Gold exceeding expectations
Lee Raynor Jr believes that the “sky is the limit” for the harness racing pony he jointly owns with his son, Sergio Raynor, that has lived up to its name this season.
The Raynor family’s four-year-old stallion, Special Gold, has come on in leaps and bounds after moving up to the Free for All division, boasting the island’s fastest ponies, earlier this season.
That trend continued during last weekend’s harness racing at Vesey Street as driver Kiwon Waldron guided the pony to the day’s second-fastest time of 1:02/3, which was just two fifths of a second shy of its lifetime best time of 1:02/1.
“He has been feeling good and ran good over the weekend,” Raynor said. “The track may not have been the fastest because we had a bit of rain the day and night before. However, he did well and I was pleased.
“I am very encouraged by his performances this season, which have exceeded our expectations. Our goal this season was to get him up in the Free for All, which we have been able to accomplish, so we are thankful.
“He has a lot of potential. The sky is the limit for him, and he has been getting better and better.”
The stallion’s track record stands at 1:01/4 and was achieved by Colin Mello’s retired stallion Big Red Machine in 2011.
Special Gold also posted the day’s third-fastest time of 1:03 flat while setting the pace for the third straight race day was Mello Stables six-year-old gelding, War Machine, that posted a 1:02/1 with 16-year-old driver Kayla Caldwell at the helm.
Having already achieved his primary objective of reaching the Free for All, Raynor is now hoping to finish the season with a bang during this weekend’s season finale Champion of Champions.
“This is Champion of Champions weekend and we are among giants, so we will see what we can do,” Raynor said.
“Special Gold is in good form so we are keeping our fingers crossed and pray that everything goes well, that he can continue on the form and, hopefully, we can have a little luck along the way.”
Among the red-hot favourites are Robert and Tyler Lopes’s mare Google Me, the defending champion and overall and mare’s track record-holder, and Simsfield Stables gelding, Simsfield Hardtimes.
Both ponies hold a share of the season’s fastest time of 1:01/3 which they achieved on the same race day last December.
The 1:01/3 Simsfield Hardtimes posted was one fifth of a second shy of the gelding’s record and two-fifths shy of Google Me’s overall track record, which stands at 1:01/1.
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