For the 10th time this season Shortest Distance has been victorious. On Monday afternoon at Monticello Raceway, the 9-year-old Park Place pacing mare returned to the track where she started the season and turned back five others to score a two-length triumph in 1:56.3 with Bruce Aldrich Jr. at the controls.
With her latest victory Shortest Distance moved into second place on the North American leaderboard in races won this season and now trails another Mighty M pacer Diamond Tiara whose tops with 11 wins.
With her penchant to race on the front end, Aldrich obliged and sent Shortest Distance to the lead but she didn't take command until she neared the quarter pole in a swift :28.2. As the field was heading to the half Aldrich was attempting to give his mare a breather but it was short-lived when Jason Ryan moved La Reata out to challenge as the field came off the paddock turn.
After a :59 half both Aldrich and Ryan each urged their mares and they raced as a team pacing the next stanza in:28.2 to trip the three-quarter timer in 1:27.2. Even though the two gritty pacers were side by side around the final turn when they straightened for home Shortest Distance opened up daylight and went on to a two-length triumph when she held off a rallying Rusty's Flying (an eight-time seasonal winner) to notch yet another Mighty M victory, her sixth here this year and 10th overall. La Reata faded and finished third (her other four wins were at Saratoga Raceway).
Shortest Distance started the season here at the Mighty M in early January. On Jan. 20 she notched her first triumph and then she reeled off four more consecutive victories before moving on the Saratoga Raceway in early March.
"She's not very big but she's a classy old mare (a lifetime winner of $360,000) who likes to be on the lead and she gives her best when she's on the front end,” noted Aldrich who had also driven her at Saratoga Raceway.
Asked why Shortest Distance returned to the Mighty M, he said, "Since she's owned in Montgomery and stabled at a farm there, it's a shorter ship here to Monticello than it is to Saratoga.”
The veteran mare is owned by Maria Godinez and now trained by Al Annunziata. She paid $2.70 for win. (Monticello)