Muscles For Life rallies to take GLADA feature at Northfield

Northfield, OH — One of harness racing’s game veterans, 11-year-old Muscles For Life (Muscle Mass), redeemed himself from a rare miscue last week and took top honors in the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Series feature at Northfield Park on Sunday night (June 2).

Driven by Lauren Harmon, Muscles For Life, away last in this octet over Cleveland’s iconic half-mile oval, circled the competition and closed fastest of all to score by a head, stopping the finish line beam in 1:59. Kandy Sweet, handled by Larry Ferrari, was just a head back after sticking his nose briefly in from just yards from the wire, while Forky, with Don Sherman in the sulky was third, just another head back, after a game journey on the outside looking in the final five-eighths of a mile. Light Blue Movers, with Braiden Rhoades handling the lines, cut all the fractions (:28.1, :58.2 and 1:28) over this track labeled “good” but wound up fourth.

It was a competitive event from start to finish as Kandy Sweet left well and led before yielding to Light Blue Movers just before the opening marker with Swan Leader finding a spot in third. After the opener, the action picked up noticeably as Forky brushed from sixth to join the leader halfway through with Kandy Sweet forced to be patient on his inside. Muscles For Life at this point was still last but able to catch live cover from Brigotto.

At the third station, the top three positions were still unchanged with Muscles For Life third over about four lengths away but starting to gnaw away once straightened away and was up just in time.

In a post race interview, Harmon said, “What can I say? He raced giant tonight. I know he likes the front but that was impossible tonight because all the others around were leaving. What Muscles (For Life) did tonight is not an easy task, especially on a half-miler. Horses may lose a step when aging a bit but they never lose their class.”

Trained by Krista Harmon for owner Jerold Hawks, the win for Muscles For Life was his first in eight season’s starts and sprinted the grand gelding toward two milestones- a 50th lifetime win (this was his 49th) and lifetime earnings of $500,000 — now at $488,780. Off as third choice in the wagering, Muscles For Life paid $14.60 to win.

GLADA is one of several amateur driving clubs that enriches worthy charitable causes as every member donates 100 percent of their earnings from these races for charitable distribution ranging from The Make-A-Wish Foundation to equine rescue missions and retraining for retired Standardbreds for second careers as therapeutic horses, show horses and riding horses.

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