War Machine finishes season with a bang

  • Overall winner: War Machine and driver Kiwon Waldron won all four heats in the Free for All

War Machine ended his abbreviated season in a blaze of glory after being crowned as the overall winner of stakes races held over the festive period.

Random Stables’ four-year old gelding won all four heats in the Free for All (1:03/4 and faster) and was declared the winner having achieved the fastest average time among the three ponies in the division.

Remarkably, three of the Indiana-bred racing pony’s victories were achieved racing off of the rail.

The stakes races were War Machine’s final appearances for the season, as he will sit out the remainder of the campaign to avoid aggravating an pre-existing injury.

“He broke his hip when he was a baby long before we got him, so we’re going to lay him off to nurse it,” Daniel Greenslade, the Random Stables owner, said.

“We’ve never raced him past New Year’s Day anyway. Even in his two-year-old and three-year-old seasons we finished him up right up after New Year’s Day because we don’t want to push it.

“We won all four heats and it was a good way to finish off his season.”

Greenslade’s pony holds both the track and gelding’s record of 1:01/2, which he set last month and equalled on Boxing Day.

War Machine was driven by Kiwon Waldron, who was also making his final appearances of the season as he is to attend school overseas.

The 18-year-old won nine of the 18 stakes races he competed in with various ponies. He also set a new record on New Year’s Day for a three-year-old with Tuck Away Farm’s gelding Gold n Glory, whose time was a fifth of a second shy of equalling the track record.

“Kiwon is a special boy and I’ve always thought that,” Greenslade said. “He’s got a gift.”

Waldron’s impressive showing on Boxing Day was marred by the death of his 70-year-old grandmother, Mary Brady, who died after being hit by her own car near the National Equestrian Centre in Devonshire as she prepared to go to watch her grandson compete.

Organisers were on the verge of cancelling the event but Waldron insisted the races went ahead and that he would compete as planned.

“It was a difficult decision the race committee had to make,” Greenslade said.

“But out of respect to the family if Kiwon wants to race then we should hold the races, and that’s what they did. It was a horrific day and a tragic accident.

“She spent a lot of time up at my stable with him and I spent a lot of time with her. She was at my house on Christmas Day and is going to be missed.”

Meanwhile, Stix racing Syndicate’s Gold Legacy (1:08/1-1:11/3), Random Stables’ A Touch of Red (1:06/3-1:08) and Martins Family’s Inwood Progress (1:05/2-1:06/2) were the remaining stakes race winners.

Two records were set, with A & J Peniston’s pony Reel Patrol establishing a new Bermuda bred record (1:03/1) on Boxing Day and Tyler Lopes’s Google Me a new mare’s record (1:01/4) on New Year’s Day.

“The races were fast, competitive and intense,” Charles Whited Jr, the Driving Horse and Pony Club president said.

“Spectators turned out in full force and were on their feet from start to finish of every race.”