Speeding Spur scores record breaking North American win
By Jonny Turner
Speeding Spur has done New Zealand proud and given his future stud career a massive boost with a track record breaking win in North America.
The reigning New Zealand Trotter Of The Year won his first race on American soil in style, when clocking 1:52.4 to win the $US148,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Tioga Downs on Monday morning (New Zealand time).
That mile (1609m) time saw the 8yr-old set a new mark for aged male trotters at the New York track.
The victory for trainer Linda Toscano and driver Brian Sears was not only impressive, it was a coup for owner Woodlands Stud.
A feature race win in North America puts a massive tick on Speeding Spur’s stud resume.
Woodlands Stud co-founder, Andrew Grierson, said he was buzzing after the race.
“I was absolutely ecstatic this morning, it was fantastic.”
“He is just such a lovely horse, he has done a good job for us.”
Speeding Spur has fitted seamlessly into Toscano’s stable after arriving in the United States.
Grierson said the trainer told him the horse has the potential to clock an even more impressive mile time.
“She loves him, she tells me he shows real speed and she reckons if she got the right trip with him he could go 1:49.”
Though Speeding Spur has massively enhanced his stud resume already, it is not a case of mission accomplished on his North American expedition.
The trotter will continue to compete in big races, with the hope of adding to his CV.
It is hoped his campaign will culminate with a big showing in the Yonkers International Trot in October.
Grierson is hoping for a little more luck with barrier draws than the horse has had in his three American starts, so far.
“He has had the visitor’s draw every start.”
“The first two starts he went great – he went 1:51.1 – he just never had any luck.”
“We have staked him for everything and it would be nice to have a chance in the International Trot if got a decent draw.”
Speeding Spur showed the grit and determination he was renown for in New Zealand when winning at Tioga Downs.
The Pegasus Spur entire had to fight hard to earn his victory during his epic homestraight duel with runner-up, Mission Accepted.
Earlier in the race, the pair traded places in the lead with Mission Accepted’s driver Yannick Gingras retaking the front from Sears after he moved Speeding Spur to the top with a lap to go.
Sears angled Speeding Spur off Mission Accepted’s back in the straight and the New Zealand bred nosed out the $1.45 on the line.
Speeding Spur’s victory impressed his champion driver.
"He's a classy horse. He's made close to a million dollars overseas, so he knows what it's all about," Sears told North American trotting media.
"He's only raced a couple times, so far, since he's been over here.”
“I just tried to put him in the race a little bit with the short field, and it worked out."
Speeding Spur’s win in the Crawford Farms Open Trot was his 28th career victory and it took his total stake earnings past NZ$1,200,000.