It seems like 1:54.3 is a final race time that 4-year-old stallion pacers like to adhere to at Monticello Raceway. On Tuesday, Only The Lonely joined two others in the Mighty M record books when the son of Western Ideal-Lonesome Day reeled off a wire-to-wire triumph in 1:54.3 in his first pari-mutuel start this season. That mile equaled the record held by both All My Life (2005) and Lover Boy (2012).
Marcus Miller was in the sulky for trainer Nick Surick and sent Only The Lonely to the lead from the seven hole and they were in command before the quarter mile was paced in :28.2. From there Miller was just buggy ridding as they passed the halfway point in :57.3 and then they came a final half in :57 to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Memory Game and driver Mike Merton.
Only The Lonely came into the race off a 1:52.1 qualifier at Gaitway Farm with his trainer at the lines on June 23. Surick watched Tuesday and was pleased with his horse's mile.
"He won in 1:50 and a piece last year and earned over $96,000 and he went a real good mile here in his first start this year," said Surick. "We didn't want to face the ‘bearcats' in his first start back so I called Eric (Warner, Monticello Raceway's director of racing) and he told me he had a race for non-winner of seven races lifetime so we decided to bring him here for his first pari-mutuel start. He (Only The Lonely) went a good mile today on the half-mile track here and he looked like himself. He's a nice horse and we're looking for a year from him.”
Co-owned by Surick, KDM Stable and the J.L. Benson Stable Only The Lonely paid $3.50 for win.
Miller and Surick teamed up again in a later race and were victorious with Yanoyanomenow in a time of 1:55.
Only The Lonely's 1:54.3 wasn't the fastest mile on the hot and humid afternoon. Trainer Bob Lounsbury's CC Stormy was victorious for Bruce Aldrich Jr. in 1:54.1. The same combination scored again with Dreamluck in 1:54.4.
Also on the card the winningest horse in North America, Diamond Tiara now in a new barn, faced the boys for the first time this year after winning 17 times against her own gender, and she didn't fare well. She finished off the board for the first time in 23 seasonal starts. (Monticello)