Simsfield Stables’ Double Time stole the thunder during the harness racing season opener at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre at the weekend.
The four-year-old Bermuda bred mare produced the fastest time of 1:04 flat with driver Dylan DeSilva at the helm at the Vesey Street racetrack on Saturday night to get a leg in the Free for All, reserved for the fastest ponies on the rock.
She achieved the phenomenal feat running alone after sole Junior Free for All rival, Big Mean Machine, own by Inwood Stable, scratched.
Double Time’s blistering time was two fifths of a second shy of the Bermuda bred mare’s record, which she briefly held a share of last season with Inwood Stables’ other pony, Reel Patrol.
“When they called the time I was kind of in shock,” Aaron Sims, who owns Double Time, told The Royal Gazette.
“It was pretty good considering she was out there by herself and a lot of them don’t do it by themselves. They like company and stuff like that.
“My colt [Simsfield Hardtimes] had the fastest time of the night at first, then Charles’s colt [Charles Whited Jr’s Gold N Glory] did a 1:04/2 as well and then the mare (Double Time) comes and does a 1:04 flat, which was totally surprising and I’m really happy.”
Gold N Glory, with Kiwon Waldron in the bike, also exceeded expectations.
“That was totally unexpected and we’re super impressed and very happy with that,” said Whited, who is also the Driving Horse and Pony Club president.
“He set all the track records as a two-year-old last season and comes back first race day this season banging with a 1:04/2 already, so that’s certainly unheard of.”
Andy Stoneham’s stallion, Custard The Dragon, with Andrea Westerfield at the helm, posted the third fastest time of 1:04/3.
“Never did we expect those races to go as fast as they’re going.” Whited said. “It just goes to show people have put the time in over the course of the summer to get their horses prepared and have brought them race fit and race ready and the times reflect that.
“The track was in immaculate condition so we had super fast conditions and nice weather which was definitely the right recipe for fast racing.
“All of the entries went really well and on average times were fast so it certainly sets a very high standard to start with. If we keep improving off that then I’m expecting multiple track records to be broken again this year.”
Whited’s two-year-old gelding, Rock Eyed Optimist, Andy Stoneham’s two-year-old colt, Wiggle It Jiggle It, and David Burrows Jr’s five-year-old mare, Rein of Terror, made their track debuts during the racing programme, which comprised 16 heats involving ponies from six divisions.
“It was a very successful race night,” Whited said.
“The stands were packed with people, so obviously we were thrilled to see the amount of people that came out to support us.”
Harness racing resumes at Vesey Street on Saturday, starting from 6pm.