By Ken Weingartner, for USTA — Yannick Gingras hoped to have Hillexotic add a little extra spice to Sunday’s $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but settled for a world-record win.
Six-year-old Hillexotic captured the Maxie Lee Memorial in 1:50.2, establishing the world record for a gelding trotter older than age 4. Hillexotic, the 1-2 favorite, won by one length over Inaminute Hanover. Ahundreddollarbill finished third.
The previous world record of 1:50.3 was shared by three horses: Sevruga (2013), Homicide Hunter (2018), and Will Take Charge (2018).
In addition, Hillexotic’s time Sunday equaled the fastest mile ever at Harrah’s Philadelphia, which was set by Market Share in the 2014 Maxie Lee Memorial.
“I tried to smash it, honestly,” Gingras said about the track record. “I tried to go (1):49. Around the last turn, I’m like, let’s go. I had a shot at it. Try to make it a little exciting.”
Hillexotic went to the front from post four, briefly yielded the lead to Inaminute Hanover on the first turn, and then reclaimed the top spot just after reaching the opening quarter in :26.4. From there, the son of Muscle Hill-Exotic Destination hit the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:22.3 on his way to his fourth victory in 10 starts this season for trainer Ron Burke.
“It kind of worked out the way we expected,” Gingras said. “Ronnie and I talked a little bit before the race, and 99 percent of the time it doesn’t work out the way you think, but today it did.”
Gingras said reaching the half-mile point in :54.4 “felt like I was walking.”
“With the conditions the way the track is, I think (the :28 second quarter) was a pretty good breather,” he said. “Usually, it’s not. But today it is.”
Hillexotic is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura. He was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. For his career, he has won 20 of 57 races and earned $744,291.
He paid $3.00 to win.