Festive races set to eclipse past meetings
The Boxing Day and New Year's Day stakes races traditionally bring the very best out of the island's harness racers and the next instalment promises to be the best yet.
“Boxing Day and New Year's Day stakes races are definitely our Kentucky Derby of horse racing here on island,” Charles Whited Jr, the Driving Horse and Pony Club president, said. “Just the history, hype and excitement that comes with it provides the most incredible atmosphere.”
Competitors have been given an added incentive with the total purse now to be divided among the entire field.
“The committee has tweaked the format for the stakes this year and is spreading the purse payout across the entire racecard so that all participants have the opportunity to win money instead of just the competitors in age divisions,” Whited said. “This will provide the most competitive and exciting races for our spectators.”
A total of fourteen heats are scheduled for both Boxing Day and New Year's Day at Vesey Street with the winners to be determined by the fastest times combined over four heats.
Harness enthusiasts have been treated to some of the most exciting racing in recent memory this season with multiple track records being broken.
Random Stables' War Machine ran a blistering 1:01/2 last weekend to set both a new overall track record and gelding's record just two weeks after Tuck Away Farm's Gold n Glory ran a 1:02 flat to break his own three-year-old record.
Tyler Lopes's Google Me has also been in record breaking form, stopping the clock at 1:02/1 to break both the mare's and four-year-old's records last month.
“The track is lightning fast and the ponies are at their peak fitness levels,” said Whited, the owner of colt Gold n Glory. “Track records are being broken weekly in the build up to Boxing Day and New Year's Day so we expect big performances from our horses and the atmosphere should play a big factor.”
Both stakes races will commence at 1pm.