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Flipper J Makes Historic Track History

Published: July 2, 2011 1:50 am ET

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When driver Jason Bartlett asked Flipper J to go, the colt went. Straight into history.

Flipper J, a three-year-old colt pacer, set the record for the fastest mile ever at Historic Track by winning a $15,000 division of the New York Sire Stakes in 1:52.4 on Friday afternoon (July 1). His time shattered the previous mark of 1:55, which was first set in 1992 by Justin Kin and equaled three times, including twice on Friday before Flipper J’s race.

Friday’s card at Historic Track, celebrating its 101st anniversary of Grand Circuit racing, featured nine divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old male and female pacers.

Flipper J, trained by Linda Toscano for owner Ken Jacobs, set the track record despite losing one of his front shoes.

“He’s just a good horse,” Bartlett said. “He gets around a half-(mile track) great. I didn’t even know what I was going, he just felt good. When I asked him, he just took off around the last turn. That was pretty quick, I’ll tell you.”

Flipper J has won two of six races this year and earned $38,122. Last season, he won five of 11 starts and $115,869.

In Friday’s race, he got the lead with a :26.4 opening quarter-mile and never looked back. He reached the halfway point in :57 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. He won by 1-1/2 lengths over Overnight Delight.

“That’s pretty awesome, it really is,” Jacobs said about Flipper J’s performance. “He loves the front end and when he gets the front end he’s hard to beat. This was a good time to get (the track record) because the weather is nice. He’s a pretty nice horse.

“Last year, he never got the credit I thought he should have, and this year he’s starting to prove it. That’s a pretty big mile. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m very proud of him.”

Flipper J’s victory gave Jacobs three wins on the day, joining filly pacer Lucky Turn and colt pacer Major Way.

“I love it down here,” said Jacobs, who lives in Baldwinsville, N.Y. “It’s pure racing. It’s not like people are betting and yelling at you if you don’t do good. Everybody is happy.”

Bartlett finished the day with five wins, four of them with horses trained by Toscano. Among them was JK Owhatanite, a three-year-old filly pacer who won the card’s first race by equaling the previous track record of 1:55. Her time, though, established the record for a female pacer of any age.

“She’s a good filly,” Bartlett said. “She did that pretty easy. She just does everything she’s supposed to do. We weren’t worried about how fast we were going, we just wanted to win the race. But that’s a big mile here.”

JK Owhatanite has won five of six races this year, including the $197,634 Lismore at Yonkers in early June.

As for his own big day, Bartlett said, “It was great. Driving for Linda, she has great horses. It ain’t me, it’s the horses, that’s for sure.”

Also equaling the previous track record Friday was three-year-old colt pacer Denver Dolly, who won by 5-1/4 lengths with driver George Brennan at the lines. There were six races won with times of less than 1:56 on Friday.

Denver Dolly has won two of seven races this year and earned $21,077. He has six victories in 19 career starts.

“That was a very impressive mile for him,” trainer George Ducharme said. “This year, he’s been chasing the better colts, and he’s a step below them. I was hoping to miss some of them here, and it worked out great. I hope this will build his confidence and get him braver, so if he does get in with those other colts he’ll feel like he can be competitive.”

Also picking up wins Friday were American Rage (Jordan Stratton), Dreamlands Roxy (Jeff Gregory), All About Kisses (Stephane Bouchard) and Party Dream (Bartlett).

Abby Simpson won the Ladies Invitational for the second consecutive year. Simpson, the wife of driver Brandon Simpson, has 46 career victories to her credit.

She guided Pembroke Joe Dunn from last place, more than 13 lengths behind the leader, to the front with a strong stretch drive. Pembroke Joe Dunn, trained and owned by Scott Blackler, won by 2-1/4 lengths over Jody Riedel-driven Whitaker Blue Chip in 1:59.3.

“He didn’t start the way I wanted him to,” Simpson said. “I was hoping to go to the front, but that’s why your plans change. But he got around traffic really nice. He’s a good horse.

“It always feels good to win, but I just want to go out and drive the best I can for the trainer and not embarrass myself. It’s fun to get out there and drive with the ladies. I met Brandon racing and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do this stuff, so doing it every now and then is really fun.”

George Casale won the Catskills Amateur Drivers race, guiding Isn’t She Lovely to victory in 1:59.4. The free-legged pacing mare, trained by Steven Moore, rallied from fifth place at the top of the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length over the Eric Taddeo-driven Admirals Chance.

“There was a lot of early speed, so I just laid back and hoped the horse could loop the field, which she did,” Casale said. “At three-quarters I had a lot of pace. She dug in every step of the way. It was all the horse. She’s perfect to drive.”

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

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