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Record-breaking stallion ruled out of harness racing opener

Sergio Raynor, left, and father Lee Raynor Jr with harness pony Special Gold (File photograph by Colin Thompson)

One of the fastest ponies on the island has been ruled out of this weekend’s harness racing season-opener at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre.

Special Gold, co-owned by father and son Lee and Sergio Raynor, will not be among the field set to compete at the Vesey Street racetrack on Sunday.

“We are not going to be there for the first race,” Lee Raynor confirmed.

“I was not well for a while, which set me back, and I am behind the eight ball a little bit. I got sick and there’s a couple of hiccups but we will be there.

“I am going to give him [Special Gold] a couple of weeks. I am just doing a little speed work, nothing crazy, and bringing him along slowly.”

Raynor’s pony grabbed the spotlight last season when he broke Big Red Machine’s 12-year-old stallion’s track record when competing in the Free for All Division with Kirista Rabain in the bike.

The blistering time was only a fifth of a second shy of the overall track record held by Tyler Lopes’s retired mare, Google Me.

Two records fell last season as Martins family pony, Double Time, eclipsed their own Bermuda-bred mare’s record in the Free for All Division with driver Candyce Martins at the helm.

Aaron Sims’s Indiana-bred pony, Simsfield Hardtimes, equalled the gelding record of to grab a share of the season’s fastest time with Special Gold.

In advance of the season starting, the Driving Horse and Pony Club released a statement looking forward to the 2022-23 campaign.

“The Committee are excited to get back to the track for our 2022-2023 race season,” read the statement. “The first race day is scheduled for Sunday, October 2, post time 1pm at the National Equestrian Centre.

“For our first race day we will be welcoming back fourteen of last season's ponies and we look forward to welcoming more back as the season progresses.

“We are hopeful for a full season without any setbacks. Currently there are no new drivers or new ponies on the current racecard, but we are optimistic that we will be welcoming some in the near future.

“We look forward to seeing the community and spectators at the track.”

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Published September 29, 2022 at 7:43 am (Updated September 29, 2022 at 8:40 am)

Record-breaking stallion ruled out of harness racing opener

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