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‘St Elmo’ Streak Intact; Stakes Galore At ‘The Big M;’ Tetrick Gets 6,000th Win

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Published: January 29, 2011 10:27 pm ET

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St Elmo Hero made it 23 wins in a row and Tim Tetrick became the youngest driver to reach 6,000 career wins on a busy night of action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

St Elmo Hero won the $65,000 Complex Series final for pacers aged five years old and under, with Tetrick picking up win No. 6,000 in the process. St Elmo Hero won by one and a quarter lengths over Windsong Gorgeous in a stakes record 1:49.1 in the snow.

Also winning on Saturday were Alexie Mattosie in the $127,000 Presidential Series final for older pacers and Meirs Hanover in the $62,600 Clyde Hirt Series final for four-year-old male pacers.

St Elmo Hero, a former $6,000 claimer, went off at odds of 1-9 and went to the front as the horses made their way down the backstretch, reaching the half-mile point in :53.3. From there, St Elmo led to three-quarters in 1:22. Windsong Gorgeous paced up to challenge, getting even with St Elmo Hero momentarily.

Down the stretch Windsong Gorgeous and Southern Allie tried to catch St Elmo Hero to no avail as he crossed the wire in front. He returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.

St Elmo Hero is owned John Barnard of Orland Park, Illinois and trained by Charles Eustis, bringing his lifetime earnings to $197,500. Windsong Gorgeous (driven by Brian Sears) was second, returning $2.20 and $2.10 as part of an entry. Southern Allie (Yannick Gingras) was third.

"I didn't think it was going to be easy,” Tetrick said. “They were going to try their best to get him beat and they were doing their job. My horse put up some really big numbers and toughed it out. It was a good mile tonight in this weather. I was trying to save as much as I could (between the half the three quarters). I got parked pretty hard and I just wanted to try to save as much as I could. I got enough of a breather and he sprinted home good for me.”

Tetrick says nothing the horse does surprises him.

"Every time, no matter what I've done, he's always finished good and proved he can do it,” Tetrick said. “Hard, easy, whatever you want to do. He's just a really nice horse. At the top of the lane, I called on him and he really dug right in and took right off.”

Barnard says when he bought St Elmo Hero for $6,000, he had modest goals.

"I was hoping I made a good claim," he said. "It's obviously turned out really well, but we were just hoping to get a good conditioned horse and he's exceeded every dream we ever had for the horse. From the beginning, there were a lot of people who thought he'd win a bunch in a row. There were guesses of 11, 12, 15 in a row that they thought he could win because of the competition he was going to be up against. I don't think anyone bet on 23."

Barnard says St Elmo Hero is eventually headed to Canada.

"We're supposed to go up to Woodbine," he said. "We don't have any plans for February; we're looking for more races. I was just happy that Tim got 6,000 and we got 23, I thought that was really poetic. The horse is now racing against tough competition and he's getting the opportunity to prove himself."

Tetrick, who turned 29 in November, also was the youngest driver to 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 wins. Walter Case, Jr. held the record for youngest to 6,000 victories. Case was 32 when he accomplished the feat in 1993.

In the Presidential, Alexie Mattosie used a first-over charge to overcome leader Vlos and then held off Bettor Sweet by a head in 1:49.2. River Shark was third.

“It was not the spot I wanted to be in,” driver David Miller said. “I figured if I left hard to try to keep position I’d have to go too hard. I was trying to get Bettor Sweet in front of me to be second over, but at the half I had to move. He gutted it out. The horse went a huge trip. I give him a lot of credit.

“When I got Bettor Sweet following me around the last turn, I figured (Bettor Sweet) would win. My horse was dead game and fought right to the wire.”

Alexie Mattosie is trained by Nik Drennan for owners Donald Lindsey, Paul Kleinpaste, William Alempijevic, and Dennis Mavrin. He paid $10.60, $4.40, $3.00.

In the Clyde Hirt final, Meirs Hanover and driver Brian Sears sat behind leader Summer Camp as the field reached the half-mile point in :54.4. He was able to get racing room and pass Summer Camp, then fend off Sniper Seelster by two lengths in 1:50.3. No Monkeys Allowed was third.

“We were fortunate to slide out of the two hole when Summer Camp was getting a little tired there around the three quarter pole,” Sears said. “Our trip worked out perfect. This horse races game every start. I can't say enough about the Burke operation, they do a great job.”

Meirs Hanover, trained by Ron Burke for owners David Van Dusen, Michael Cimaglio and Strollin Stable, paid $6.40, $4.20, $2.80.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit ustrotting.com.


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