SKOWHEGAN — Real Special was already having a good season on the harness racing circuit. It got a little better Saturday with a win in the Walter H. Hight Memorial Pace at the Skowhegan State Fair.
Driven by W. Drew Campbell, Real Special led the entire mile, winning the prestigious pace in 1 minute, 54.1 seconds.
“He raced good. He didn’t get tested at all, and I didn’t take (any) chances,” Campbell said.
Late Nite Flight, driven by Ron Cushing, was second, and Viper Hanover and driver Heath Campbell, Drew’s brother, third. Real Special paid $5.60 to win, and the trifecta paid $250.40. Real Special’s winning time did not beat the track record, 1:52.3, set in 2010 by Rodeo Du Ruisseau.
Campbell and Real Special started from the five spot, and Campbell made the decision to try to get out front early. It worked, and Real Special was never challenged for the lead over the course of the race.
“Having the five-hole is the center of the race track, up on the crown of the track. I think that’s the best place, as far as leading,” Campbell said. “There was some nice horses out there, but I thought if I could get to the lead and control the race early, I thought I’d be OK.”
Real Special ran the first quarter mile in 27.4 seconds, and at the half mile split, his time was 57.2.
“It worked out, 27.4 was a good clip. He couldn’t go much better than that. The second quarter, I got a breather, and then it was just roll the last half,” Campbell said. “I didn’t get eyeballed anywhere. I just rolled that last half, and he responded.”
Saturday’s win was Real Special’s seventh in 14 starts this season, and his second in a row. On Aug. 2, Real Special won in Presque Isle while driven by Heath Campbell. On July 20, Real Special placed third in the Paul Bunyan Invitational at Bangor Raceway, coming from seventh place at the half mile to surge over the final stretch.
“He’s a nice little horse,” Campbell said. “The horse can spring off the gate fast. He was a pricey animal, and I believe he was worth the price.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242