Cherokee’s Ironman retains title
Cherokee's Ironman underlined his status as Bermuda's top racing pony after retaining his Aged Stakes title on New Year's Day.
Arnold Manders's gelding held a slight advantage over nearest rival Simsfield Hardtimes going into the final two heats of the series and did enough to retain his title.
“I think he [Ironman] set the tone for the stakes races on Boxing Day, but it wasn't settled until the final day because Simsfield Hardtimes was only two fifths of a second off us,” Manders said.
“The rest of the field were over a second or so behind, so in the end it came down between Simsfield Hardtimes and Ironman who got drawn in the same heat. First heat, we were in the two-hold and we overtook Itsallaboutme coming home and beat Simsfield Hardtimes by two fifths of a second. That gave us a four-fifths of a second lead going into the second heat, so all we did was follow [Hardtimes] around the track so he couldn't get away.”
Ironman was driven by Darico Clarke, who has replaced Tyler Lopes at the helm of Manders's Indiana-bred pony this season.
Rounding out the podium in the Aged Stakes were Simsfield Hartimes in second and Pocket De Gold in third.
Claiming the Two-Year Stakes title in record-breaking fashion was Special Gold.
Lee Raynor's stud posted a 1:05 flat to eclipse the previous mark of 1:05/1, set by Lopes's filly Google Me last season, by one-fifth of a second.
Special Gold was driven by teenager Kiwon Waldron, who equalled Lopes's record on Boxing Day at the helm of Charles Whited's colt Gold N Glory.
Thisbabyrocks and Gold N Glory, also driven by CedarBridge Academy student Waldron, took second and third in the Two-Year Stakes series.
Moving up to the Free for All, reserved for the fastest racing ponies, was Lopes's Google Me.