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New mark for 11 year old

June 29, 2006

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He found himself in a new stable, but retained his regular pilot, and the 11-year-old Claddagh N posted his 11th win of the year Wednesday night at Cal Expo, scoring in a lifetime best of 1:52.3 for the Summersby Stable, which claimed the horse on June 21.

Claddagh N shook loose in time for the victory. Starting from post-position four in the field of eight, driver Luke Plano was fairly confident entering the race.

\"The horse has been in good form for me and drew well,\" said the young Plano. \"I thought his chances were decent. There was a bit of speed to my left, but I still thought I could get around them.\"

Leaving as expected and racing three-wide for the first eighth of a mile, Claddagh N found himself on a very brief lead while at the same time yielding. With movement for the lead by others, Claddagh N found himself in the three-hole past the quarter-mile pole, timed in a rapid :27.1. Given the past performance lines of the 11 year-old, the formbook would say that a move to the top was forthcoming--but that move never occurred.

\"The horse likes the front, but he doesn\'t need the front. I\'ve been on the lead with him in his last five starts and figured a change wouldn\'t hurt. Plus I thought we were going enough that I could hold my position third-in and go from there.\"

Maintaining the three-hole at the half-mile pole, timed in :56, Plano was OK with how the race was progressing. \"I thought the leader, New Age Outlaw, had gotten a good second-quarter breather, which I thought helped me from where I was.\"

With the field moving into the final turn, Plano had a chance to pull his charge first-over with 7/16ths of a mile to go. \"When Jordan\'s Planet came up on the outside, I thought about pulling first-over, but the pace seemed to pick up on the front, so I elected to stay in.\"

The decision to stay in by Plano was not, however, what Claddagh N had in mind, as the aggressive gelding was trying to pull himself to the outside past the 11-16 mile pole.

\"He had a lot of pace and was very anxious to pull himself out of the hole, but I didn\'t think it was time and had to check him to keep him inside,\" Plano said.

Continuing to want to muscle his way out, Claddagh was forced to remain patient at the three-quarter mile pole, timed in 1:24.2. \"I was loaded, I just needed some room,\" added Plano. \"I knew he\'d have a strong chance to win if he got clear. I popped his earplugs at the top of the stretch and once he found room, he took off like a shot, as I expected.\"

Free and three-wide with just less than 3-16 of a mile to go, Claddagh N quickly brushed into the lead to the seven-eighths mile pole and the race was over, as the New Zealand bred went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
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