Special Gold blazes new track record and lifetime best
A changing of the guard took place after Special Gold broke a 12-year-old track record competing in the Free for All division at the National Equestrian Centre on Sunday.
Lee and Sergio Raynor’s harness pony ran a blistering 1:01.2 with driver Kirista Rabain, shaving two fifths of a second off the previous stallion’s track record of 1:01.4, set by Big Red Machine in 2011.
The time also eclipsed the six-year-old horse’s previous lifetime best and season’s fastest time, which both stood at 1:02.1.
“Big Red has had it (record) for quite a few years, so to break that is quite an honour,” co-owner Lee Raynor told The Royal Gazette. “I’m very humble and grateful.
“It was a humbling experience and like a dream to see him go. We have been blessed and it’s definitely been a team effort between myself, my son Sergio and good friend Antwan Edwards. We have worked together as a team and it’s been a journey.”
Rabain was equally thrilled to have played a part in the record breaking feat.
“It’s an exciting feeling being able to break the record with a pony,” she said. “It still feels surreal.”
Raynor said he always believed his horse had the potential to achieve great things in the sport.
“We always knew the horse was gifted,” he added. “It was just a matter of putting it all together on a good day. If we put it together then great things could happen.
“You never know with horses. Sometimes you think you’re right there and they’re not. But he blessed us and we are all so grateful.”
Raynor is delighted to see the hard work and dedication invested over the years paying off.
“It’s been a lot of work training and Sergio has spent a lot of time overseas over the years with a number of top standard bred trainers throughout the United States,” he said. “So it’s been a wealth of knowledge and information that’s helped us as a team.”
Raynor’s horse came to within a fifth of a second of setting a new lifetime best and season’s fastest time the previous race day with driver Candyce Martins.
“He felt good last week and the weeks building up and he put it together,” he added. “We have been walking on cloud nine for a while and it’s so wonderful. God has blessed us for sure.”
Special Gold’s time was just a fifth of a second shy of the overall track record of 1:01.1 held by Tyler Lopes’ mare, Google Me.
“He was a fifth off equalling the overall track record so hopefully we can put it all together,” Raynor said.
“It’s so many good horses there and a number of them have a chance to do it.
“We’re just grateful we had that opportunity and hopefully there’s more to come.”
Meanwhile, times also continued to heat up elsewhere with rival geldings Itsallaboutme and Rockeyed Optimist both advancing from the 1:04.3 – 1:06 time bar, after getting a second leg out of the division. The pair both got a leg out the previous race day with drivers J'auza James and Maurice Raynor in the bike.
Rabain’s mare, IC’s Overextended, also advanced from the 1:04.3 – 1:06 time bar after getting both legs out of the division during Sunday’s racecard.
“She enjoys racing and is showing up and performing every week,” Rabain said.
“This weekend was the fastest I’ve ever gone with her but not her lifetime, so I’m very pleased and excited about her.”
Getting a leg out of the 1:06.1- 1:08 time was Catrina Stephens’s mare, Gold Legacy, with teenaged driver Nisuje Landy respectively.
Macray Bulford, James, Martins and Landy were among the drivers achieving multiple heat wins.