In spite of a five-week layoff the beat goes on for Diamond Tiara. On a sunny Tuesday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, the 7-year-old pacing mare notched her 12th seasonal victory with a gate-to-wire performance in 1:58.1, which has once more placed her atop the North American leaderboard in races won this year.
Jimmy Taggart Jr. was again in the sulky for trainer Mike Watson as the daughter of McArdle notched her ninth consecutive victory.
Surprisingly disregarded by the betting public even with eight wins in a row coming into the contest, she was sent off at odds of over 7-2 and paid $9.40 for win.
Perhaps the fear of being scratched sick in her last two attempts to race here and with only a qualifying event on May 15 at Pocono Downs since she last started on April 21, could have explained the reluctance, but Diamond Tiara was again herself and sped to the lead and never had an anxious moment en route to victory. Zeke Parker and Givemybest Hanover, even with a perfect two-hole journey, couldn't get by Diamond Tiara in the deep stretch and they had to settle for second money. Theron Seelster finished third for Austin Siegelman.
"This was a tougher bunch this week,” Taggart said of his mare's competition Tuesday. "We got away cheap and she was her old self today in spite of her layoff.”
Diamond Tiara is owned by Philip Schultz of Michigan and it was the fourth winning drive on the 10-race card for Taggart.
Maybe something even more astonishing happened on the Tuesday card when a pair of dead heats developed between the first four horses under the wire in the seventh race. There was a dead heat for win and a dead heat for show and many believe that the double dead heats are a harness racing first. But there's one thing for sure, it is something that never happened in the 55 years of racing here at the Mighty M.
Early Morning and driver Peter (PJ) Lutman III were on the lead and when Jimmy Marohn Jr made a quarter pole move with Latin Lyric, Lutman never yielded and Latin Lyric was on the limb the rest of the way. The fast early fractions were responsible for a tight field going into the final turn and when the field straightened for home horses were coming from everywhere and only one-fifth of a second separated the winner from the sixth-place finisher.
As one would expect there was an extended time before the numbers were posted and when it was all sorted out there was the dead-heat for win between Early Morning and a hard-charging Midnight Mass with Taggart aboard.
But the photo still had to be inspected and when the judges declared the race official Bettorthanicecream (Austin Siegelman) and Check My Pulse with Jimy Devaux aboard, were tied for the show spot, just noses behind the first two finishers. And Latin Lyric and KZ Bezz (Mike Merton) were right there too, just a nose or two back of the leaders.
The double dead heats spurred multiple payoffs in the exactas, trifectas and superfectas which are too numerous to mention. (Monticello)