Muscle Hill Wins World Trotting Derby

Published: September 5, 2009 10:32 pm EDT

World champion Muscle Hill continued to impress his followers on Saturday with a 1:52.3 triumph in the $575,000 World Trotting Derby

at the Illinois State Fair in DuQuoin, which earned him a spot in the double millionaire club.

The rain delays, which made Saturday afternoon's card an evening affair, didn't seem to bother Muscle Hill as he left from Post 6 with Luke McCarthy subbing in for regular reisman Brian Sears and landed the lead ahead of Southern Rocketop (Dave Magee) at the :28.2 opening quarter. The three-year-old son Muscles Yankee-Yankee Blondie carved out panels of :57.1 and 1:26.1 before kicking home in :26.2 to win in 1:52.3 by a length.

Southern Rocketop was the runner-up and Photoforwin (Rick Beinhauer) finished third.

T L P Stable of Kearny, Southwind Farm of Pennington, New Jersey, Muscle Hill Racing LLC and Jerry Silva of Long Beach, New York share ownership of the bay colt, who is trained by Greg Peck.

“[Having a horse like Muscle Hill] is an experience everyone should enjoy and especially the people that are with us in this group; our trainer Greg Peck, our driver Brian Sears and today Mr. McCarthy. It's just a great group and a great horse," said Silva after the race. "He’s very, very special. There was a little bit of an anxious moment today with him not winning by his usual six lengths. Last week, going off the track into the paddock at the American National he gave us an anxious moment, but that’s horse racing. The bottom line is, he’s a winner. He came home in :26.2 and he’s undefeated so far this year. And we have to say thank you to the track people who made it happen."

“I’d like to thank Greg Peck and all the owners for the opportunity to let me drive this horse,” said McCarthy in the winner’s circle, who later thanked his friend Joe Hanney as well for helping him get the drive as Sears was scheduled to drive at Mohawk Racetrack in the evening. “Not many people over here would know who I am. I’ve been lucky enough to drive some of the best horses down under and in all the big races, but that’s the most nervous I’ve ever been.”

McCarthy is the brother of Andrew McCarthy, who drove Muscle Hill last year in Lexington.

“I spoke with Brian Sears this afternoon and Brian said just get away handy without pushing him and when they settle down just move him to the front and then it's just an armchair ride.

“He had a lot left. To be honest, I was too scared to let him go. I just wanted to keep him together and make sure we won the race.”

When asked how Muscle Hill handled the six hour delay, Peck said his colt remained calm and collected until he was called upon. "He just takes it all in. He’s very calm about it. He just seems to save it all up for when, as Brian says, he’s called on. What Luke did tonight, he just did a beautiful job with him. There’s still more races to go and we never want to tax him too much."

Muscle Hill extended his win streak to 15 and boosted his earnings to $2,194,542 with the win. Undefeated in seven starts this year, Muscle Hill earned victories in the New Jersey Sires Stakes Championship, the Stanley Dancer Memorial, Hambletonian and American National. With his World Trotting Derby triumph, Muscle Hill became the third consecutive Hambletonian winner, and fourth in five years, to capture the event. Deweycheatumnhowe won in 2008, Donato Hanover in 2007 and Vivid Photo in 2005.



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