In what was the fastest night of pacing ever at Rosecroft Raceway on Tuesday, Shady Breeze and driver Chris Welty broke the track record for 3-year-old pacers while winning in a lifetime mark-equaling time of 1:50. This broke a track record held by Presidential Ball, Cam's Card Shark and Sheer Brilliance of 1:50.3.
The mile was the third fastest in the history of racing at Rosecroft behind only Jenna's Beach Boy's 1:49.2 and Nuclear Breeze's track record of 1:48.2. Nuclear Breeze is the sire of Shady Breeze and the win put Nuclear Breeze over the $1 million mark as a sire this season.
Welty and Shady Breeze were pushed to the quarter in a brisk :26.1 by Varsity Hanover. Shady hit the half in :54.1 with Varsity gapped out by three lengths. Heading down the backside Shady Breeze hit the turbos and was to the three quarters in 1:21.3 (second fastest time in Rosecroft history) but while three of the challengers had faded a resurgent Varsity Hanover was right on driver Welty's helmet. These two turned for home and Varsity pulled the pocket to challenge, but Welty and Shady Breeze paced a :28.2 final quarter to win.
Varsity was valiant in defeat and paced the quickest mile of his life finishing a length and a half back in second while timed in 1:50.1. Tom's Torpedo was the best of the rest for third. Judy Welty trains and owns the winner.
The Shady Breeze race was notable for two other reasons. It was the only pace in which the winner didn't break their lifetime mark and wasn't driven by Frank Milby. That's right, Frank Milby had a great night winning six pacing races and setting a lifetime mark on every horse (including Tom's Torpedo who paced the fastest mile of his life while third in the 3 & 4-Year-Old Open).
The average winner's time on the pace was 1:52.2, which is the fastest night by pacers in the history of Rosecroft. Caviart Tyler paced a 1:51 mile; Shady Breeze the previously mentioned 1:50 mile; Gone Nuclear paced 1:51.2 and Lost Heart shaved over two seconds off his lifetime mark with a 1:53.1 mile. Credit should go to track superintendent Dan Herbst and his crew that had the track in fantastic condition.
On the trotting side, Jim Groff pulled a monumental upset with Lucky Charm in the opener paying $72 to win in a five-horse field. He returned to the winner's circle with Johnhannibal Smith who "only” paid $14 to win the fifth race. Two dollars invested in each of Groff's drives in trotting races would have returned over $86 this evening. (Rosecroft)