LMC Mass Gem Makes It Back To The Winner's Circle

Published: February 25, 2024 03:46 pm EST

LMC Mass Gem made a grand return to the winner’s circle after the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association (GLADA) event on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Northfield Park.

The 10-year-old Muscle Mass gelding, who recently returned to the battlefield after recovering from serious injury over a year ago, scored his 28th career win, sending his lifetime bounty to $483,653.

Larry Ferrari was in the sulky for trainer Braiden Rhoades and Brian & Ira Wallach Racing as the winner enjoyed perfect handling to win the $10,811 GLADA trot in 1:58.4 on a wind chilled night over the Northfield half-mile oval. Walters Keepsake, driven by Lauren Harmon, went a huge mile (and 25 yards) to finish second, three-parts of a length away, while Cessna Pride, driven by Justin Mullett, and Admiral Allstar, with Edward Miller handling the lines, wound up in a dead-heat for third. Favoured Black Hawk Down, teamed with Eric Miller, cut all the fractions but could only pick up pick up the nickel, 1-1/4 lengths away in the blanket finish.

Beginning from the inside post in a field narrowed to six with two scratches, LMC Mass Gem benefitted as a quartet of trotters showed alacrity leaving with Ferrari keeping his charge close up around the initial turn and settling in the garden, tracking Black Hawk Down through hot panels on this cold night of :28.2, :58 and 1:27.4. Turning for home, Ferrari took the shortest route and prevailed as third choice ($8.40) in the betting.

The victory proved to be a “grand slam” in the making for Ferrari, who got his fourth straight win in the GLADA series, which began on Dec. 30 with So Wishfull and continued on Jan. 12 with Wild And Crazy Guy, followed by Kandy Sweet on Feb. 10 and, finally, this win with LMC Mass Gem.

About his heroics, the humble Ferrari lamented, “You know, it takes an entire team to reach the winner’s circle—from the caretakers to the trainer and, finally, to the luck of the draw. Tonight’s win was special because this horse had a severe injury and was nursed back to health by a very talented, young trainer, Braiden Rhoades. 

“Drawing the inside post helped dramatically and he got a very nice trip taking the shortest route. Everything has to go just right to hit the winner’s circle and, tonight, everything went just right.”

Rhoades, at the age of 18, is in his second year as a conditioner and improved his “batting average” in 2024 to .320 after last year’s rookie season where he had a .301 UDRS.

After the win, Rhoades said, “He had some pretty serious issues and you have to have patience to get through something like this. We took great care of him and took our time to make sure he could compete at a good level. He was a little short in his first start back [finishing fifth in a Feb. 10 GLADA trot], but had a tough post that night and, tonight, I thought he’d be a lot tighter. 'LMC' made me proud of him tonight—he’s got a lot of class and this was the kind of trip he just loves!”

(With files from Great Lakes Amateur Driving Association)

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