The Yannick Gingras-driven Maltese Artist overcame post eight to win the inaugural $345,500 Bobby Quillen Memorial final Monday night at Harrington Raceway in 1:52. After Maltese Artist won his Quillen elim last week at odds of 6-1, he drew the outside starting slot in the final--the richest race ever at Delaware's half-mile track--and rewarded his faithful backers at odds of 13-1, returning $29.60 for a $2 win ticket.
Gingras left hard at the get-go and got the lead to the opening quarter in :26.2--the Harrington timer showed he had gone a opening eighth in :12.4. Jereme's Jet (Tony Morgan) pulled from the pocket and assumed command to a half mile in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.4. With Mypanmar battling first-over, Maltese Artist surged by Jereme's Jet in the stretch for the win. Western Ace closed ground for third.
"Yeah, it worked out OK," said Gingras of the outside draw. "I had him ready to go and fired off the wings. I figured if something would happen we would go pretty fast and Tony let me go. He came right back, and I got a good trip from there. The horse raced great."
For Maltese Artist, it was his 11th win of the year as his seasonal earnings ballooned to nearly $1 million for owners Sylvia Burke, John Howard and James Koran. Maltese Artist has now earned just shy of $1.8 million for his career.
The race honored the late Delaware legislator Bobby Quillen, a popular member in the local community and the Harrington Raceway Board of Directors who passed away in September of 2004. He was a regular at the racetrack and always had the best interest of horsemen in mind. His sister Grace Wanda Quillen and brothers Frank and Francis were present in the winner's circle.
Also present was Delaware Senator Thurman Adams Jr., who was a good friend of the race's namesake.
"This is a special night and it makes it special because anyone who knew Bobby, knew he was a true supporter of Harrington Raceway," said Adams. "He and I have worked together for many years and I am just so happy to be part of this evening in remembrance of Bobby." (with files from Harrington)