Stihl N fastest ever Mass-bred; Monti wins five

Plainville, MA — History was made at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (June 3), when Stihl N won the featured $20,000 Mass-Grads series for state-bred horses and geldings. After capturing the race by seven lengths in 1:50, Stihl N recorded the fastest race time ever over any track in the state by a Massachusetts-bred pacer in the history of the sport in the Commonwealth.

Stihl N sawed through the competition to become the fastest Massachusetts-bred pacer ever on Thursday. Tom Melanson photo.

Driver Matty Athearn got away fourth with Stihl N, but pulled first-over at the half in :55.1. He eventually moved alongside of the leading R Maddy Blue Chip (Kevin Switzer Jr.) on the backstretch and took control of the race at three-quarters in 1:22.2. Once he cleared, Stihl N swelled up and opened up a quick six-length advantage heading into the stretch and extended that to seven in deep stretch. As Athearn sat chilly, Stihl N sealed the deal at the line in 1:50, which was a new lifetime mark.

“He’s been racing well this year, and he’s always liked to come from behind. But today, when he cleared, I could tell he felt really strong and had all kinds of pace,” said Athearn. “I think he had some more in the tank at the wire, and I feel he might be able to break 1:49 and change sometime this summer.”

It was the third win in only eight starts this year for Stihl N ($9.20), who is owned by James Hemenway. Paul McHugh trains the winner.

The winning time was commensurate with other results the speed-yielding track at Plainridge produced today, as the winners of eight out of the 11 races took new lifetime marks and the other three registered personal seasonal speed records.

Driver Drew Monti was responsible for five of those winners on Thursday. Monti won with Powered By Mach (1:52.4, $15.20), Great Pop Up (1:56, $33.00), Level Up (1:52.1, $2.80), LA Always Amartini (1:52.3, $8.80) and Force N Fury (1:51, $8.20). The first four of the five wins Monti had were a natural grand slam, coming in races three, five, six and seven, as he did not have a drive in race four.

When live racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (June 4), there will be a $11,970.24 carryover in the sixth-race Wicked Hi-5 pentafecta. Post time for the first race is 4 p.m.

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