Mister Big, 2008 Pacer of the Year, won his first start of the year, a qualifier, in 1:55.3 at Hoosier Park Friday morning. Brad Hanners drove the two-time Dan Patch Pacing Horse of the Year for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr., clicking off splits of :28.3, :58.2 and 1:28.3 before a final quarter in :27.
Mister Big, a son of Grinfromeartoear, won a string of high profile races in 2008, including the $600,000 Haughton Final, the $659,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, and the $500,000 Breeders’ Crown. Mister Big completed the year with nine wins in 11 starts, turning in his second consecutive season with a seven-figure bankroll.
Mister Big’s quickest performance was recorded as a three-year-old when he rounded The Meadowlands in a time of 1:47.4 to win the $342,000 U.S. Pacing Championship, turning in a final panel of :25.3 in the process. The major stakes scene is on the agenda again in 2009 for Mister Big, who will be seeking the title as the richest horse in harness racing history this year.
Owned by Joe Muscara of Huntington, Pa., Mister Big is currently ranked fifth on the list of all-time leading money earners in harness racing. The top spot is occupied by Gallo Blue Chip, who earned more than $4.2 during a career that spanned seven years on the track. Gallo Blue Chip raced at Hoosier Park as a 3-year-old, finishing third in the $500,000 Hoosier Cup.
Mister Big, winner of more than $3.2 million and 29 career races, will team up once again with Hanners in his qualifying debut. The duo will begin from post five in the first race lineup that includes eight horses. Racing fans in Indiana may have the opportunity to watch Mister Big in the pari-mutuel ranks later in the year. The $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational Pace set for Saturday, June 20 is on his agenda for consideration. (Hoosier Park)