by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
East Rutherford, NJ — Slave Dream (John Campbell) carved out a path on the inside to get up in the final strides to win the $300,000 Nat Ray for older trotters on Saturday afternoon (August 7) at the Meadowlands by a neck in a time of 1:52.
Slave Dream is owned by Franco Cianci and Isidoro Russo, and is a Quebec-bred son of Pearsall Hanover. He’s trained by Frank O’Reilly.
Enough Talk (Ron Pierce) was the first to make the lead in :27.2, when Reven Damour (Fredrik Larsson) charged up past that mark to take over the top spot and led the field to the :55.2 half with Enough Talk behind him. Reven Damour was still leading at the 1:23.1 three-quarters with Lanson (Mike Lachance) outside of Reven Damour and Enough Talk and Looking Hanover (Yannick Gingras) trying to close.
But as that group was slugging it out in front in mid-stretch, Campbell was squeezing through on the rail for the win. Enough Talk was second and Reven Damour third.
Campbell said the win came despite a lackluster trip.
“It wasn’t very good, I couldn’t get him squared up,” said Campbell. “At the start he was off stride and he landed trotting and I ended up down at the rail. I really didn’t have any decisions to make because I was locked in the whole mile, just kept poking up the rail and fortunately it worked out. Halfway through the stretch I could get through and he responded very well, made up a lot of ground, trotted a great mile considering where he started from. He won a series here last spring (2009 Hiram Woodruff). Pierre Couture trained him and I think he swept the series, so I’d raced him before. He’s just a professional racehorse and goes about his business with a good frame of mind.”