DeCosta marks return with surprise win
Nick DeCosta savoured a first triumph on his return to the local harness racing scene after a lengthy absence at the National Equestrian Centre at the weekend.
The experienced driver, who has spent the past five years showjumping and harness racing in the United States, steered Brona's Mike to a major upset in the Free for All.
Racing on the rail, Inwood Stables' 11-year-old gelding beat last season's top horse Cherokee's Ironman and slashed more than a second off the season's fastest time of 1:05/2 achieved by the latter horse the previous race day.
“I had a plan and stuck to it and it worked this time,” said DeCosta, the former Driving Horse and Pony Club president.
“It was pretty encouraging to have him go that well because he's 11-years-old so he's not a young horse anymore. But he still seems to like his job and be able to hold his own when he needs to.
“It's early in the season for him to be running this fast. But I think judging by the rest of the competition you needed to go that fast and I think everybody this year is pretty ready.”
DeCosta believes the best is yet to come from Brona's Mike this season.
“I think he's got a little bit more in him,” he said. “Even though that was a fast time early in the season I still don't think he's completely fit and has a little bit more in him. He's in good shape, but I think in a few more race days he can get a bit fitter.”
As for his return to the local harness scene, DeCosta said: “It's good to be back home. It's nice to be back in the mix and sort of in crowd with everybody. It brings back old memories.”
Meanwhile, Tyler Lopes continued his dominant start to the new season at Vesey Street.
Picking up where he left off the previous race day, he posted four heat victories on as many horses, including one with his new Indiana-bred two-year-old filly, Google Me, and another with gelding Pastor Paul, owned by his grandfather David Lopes.
Aaron Madeiras and Kiwon Waldron were the remaining multiple heat winners.
Madeiras was a double heat winner with Full Throttle Racing's mare IC's Shakedown in the Free for All, while Waldron was a heat winner with Random Stables' War Machine and Aaron Sims's mare Skyway Majestic.
BCC Stables' mare GI Jane was the only horse getting a leg out of its division at the weekend.