Muscle Hill delivered as expected Saturday in the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
The dominant 3-year-old trotting colt cruised to a six-length victory in record time. The overwhelming 1-5 favorite, Muscle Hill led all the way from the rail in the mile trotted in 1:50.20, erasing the Hambletonian mark of 1:51.20 set by Glidemaster in 2006.
Muscle Hill extended his winning streak to 13 in the richest race of the year in harness racing. He lost his first race and is undefeated since. Brian Sears drove for trainer Gregory Peck as Muscle Hill won for the fifth time this season.
He was never seriously challenged.
"I knew he was sitting on a big one and he didn't let me down," said Sears. "He had a great afternoon."
So did Sears, who became the first driver to win the Hambletonian and the $783,042 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies, on one day. It was the first Hambletonian victory for Sears.
"I knew I had the horse this year to get it done and I never had any doubts," Sears said. "This horse has just been waiting for me to call on him."
After moving colt to the early lead, Sears didn't have much to do as the Muscle Hill trotted the competition into submission before a crowd of 25,754.
"When Brian Sears steps on the gas, the horse is like a sports car that goes into overdrive," said Peck. "He does it easily."
Muscle Hill earned $760,166.50 for Jerry Silva of Long Beach, N.Y., TLP Stable of Kearny, N.J., Southwind Farm of Pennington, N.J. and Muscle Hill Racing of Long Beach, N.J.
Muscle Hill paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10. Explosive Matter was second, paying $4.40 and $2.80. Calchips Brute paid $6.60 to show.
The Chancellor was fourth followed by Symphonic Hanover, Reinsman Hanover, Judge Joe, Triumphant Caviar, Federal Flex and Hot Shot Blue Chip.