Day At The Track

World record under saddle set in UK Saturday

04:53 AM 26 Jun 2017 NZST
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Evenwood Sonofagun, harness racing Harness racing Evenwood Sonofagun, harness racing Evenwood Sonofagun, harness racing
Evenwood Sunofagun and jockey Alexi Laidler in full stride coming to the finish
Photo courtesy Scottish Harness Racing Club
The pacers are lined up behind the starting gate for the under saddle race
Photo courtesy Scottish Harness Racing Club
Jockey Alexis Laidler and Evenwood Sunofagun after their world record mile
Evenwood Sonofagun and jockey Alexis Laidler before the start of their world record mile
Pennie Elliott photo
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A world record in harness racing was achieved at York Raceway, in York, England Saturday when Evenwood Sunofagun paced the mile in 1:57.3, a record for pacers under saddle on a half mile track.

Owned by Raymond Hushka and trained by Alexis Laidler, the five-year-old gelding by The Firepan, out of the mare, I’m The Last, was also ridden on the day by the UK’s leading trainer, Alexis Laidler.

Quickly asserting themselves at the start of the race, Evenwood Sunofagun kept up the blistering pace, cutting fractions of :29, :58, 1:27 and burnt off his rivals one by one to score by more than six lengths in 1:57.3 – a certified new world record.

Race favourite, Rhyds Design, was second whilst Afan Romeo and Burning Dust claimed the remaining places.

The previous world record was held by Darla Frakes (nee Conklin) who clocked 2:00 in July 1998 at Northfield Park in the USA with the gelding, Highly Rated.

Amid chaotic scenes in the winner’s enclosure, Alexis Laidler was surrounded by scores of family and friends and thanked race organizers Lisa Farrelly, Lauren Moran and Sarah Thomas for staging the contest and giving her the opportunity of entering the history books.

“He's such a dream horse,” Laidler added about Evenwood Sonofagun. “And I can't believe he has achieved this. Was such a fab day.”

Asked about how she came to ride pacers, Laidler stated that she always rode ponies as a child, and in recent years she started taking out the saddle again with some of her aged pacers in order to “sweeten them up” and introduce something different into their training regime.

Laidler, is an eight-time Leading Trainer in the UK alongside her husband, William “Rocker” Laidler”, who won that title twice himself, so between them, Great Britain’s power couple have won the last ten trainers titles, an achievement that Alexis is rightly proud off. And now she can add world record holder to her burgeoning resume.

When asked about her future ambitions, eclipsing her previous total of 102 winners in a single season, is next on the agenda and some classic race winners along the way are always an added bonus.

On hearing the news, previous holder of the record, Darla Frakes, was quickly onto connections of the winner, expressing her congratulations and stated that she never thought her world record would stand for almost 20 years, and she looked forward to seeing some pics and official video of the occasion.  

An emotional and overwhelmed Mick Welling, owner and promoter of York Raceway, commented that he never thought in a million years that a world record in harness racing would find a home at the venue, his pride and joy.

Heavily involved in the sport in the UK, Welling also runs Camden Stud, which is situated adjacent to York Raceway and currently stands stallions Art Professor, My Panmar, Eagle Luck, Stonebridge Galaxy and Yankee Lariot and is a boutique breeder himself with a dozen or so select broodmares, whose progeny all run under the Camden prefix.

To view the world record under saddle mile, click on this link. https://www.facebook.com/scottishharnessracingclub/videos/825934210914763/

By Thomas Bennett, for Harnesslink

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