Obrigado sets record in Cleveland Trotting Classic
July 03, 2016
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Obrigado avenged last year’s Cleveland Trotting Classic defeat with an impressive track record victory on Saturday (July 2). Last year’s runner-up trotted like he had something to prove and bested his competition by 5-3/4 lengths.
Obrigado ($3.40) started from the rail. He floated off the gate and two rivals were ahead of him at the 1/8-pole. Once the field was set, driver Mark MacDonald quarter-moved Obrigado. He took the lead just past the :27.2 opening quarter and never experienced an anxious moment the rest of the mile. He led his rivals through times of :56, 1:25 and 1:53.2.
"He (Obrigado) is really sharp right now. I got him to the front and let things play out from there," said MacDonald. "Once this horse is near the lead, he does the rest."
The 1:53.2 clocking replaces the 1:54.1 time of Kirty Dream (Aaron Merriman) as the fastest mile ever on the Flying Turns for a 5-year-old and up gelded trotter. Kirty Dream’s mark has held since 2014.
Saturday’s win is Obrigado’s fourth win this year and 38th lifetime score, increasing his bankroll to $1,109,749 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45.
Completing the $180,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were Muscle Up The Goal, Shake It Cerry, Il Sogno Dream, Maestro Blue Chip, Homicide Hunter and Like Old Times.
"This is a great horse to drive. I love driving for Paul Kelley, and his owners are extremely patient," explained MacDonald. "It is very meaningful to win races for guys like them." (Northfield)