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>Lexington, KY --- Muscle Hill added another chapter to his great career as he romped to a straight heat victory in the $600,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday (Oct. 3) at The Red Mile. Jerry Silva, T L P Stable, Southwind Farm and Muscle Hill Racing own the champion trotter, while Greg Peck is his trainer.

Muscle Hill and driver Brian Sears protected the rail in the $264,000 second heat of the Futurity and took the field to the opening quarter in :27. Heading down the backstretch, Sears and Muscle Hill began to open up from the field with only Dr McDreamy (Homer Hochstetler) staying close at the :54.3 half-mile marker. Muscle Hill put in a :29.1 third quarter to reach the pole in 1:23.4, then continued to remain in command and closed it out like a champion by 2-1/2 lengths in a time of 1:51.1. Explosive Matter (Ron Pierce) rallied to finish second, while Tom Cango (Tim Tetrick) was third.

The victory was the 19th straight for Muscle Hill and his 11th in 2009. He has now earned $2,156,041 this year and $2,973,342 lifetime.

"He felt tremendous," said Sears. "I asked him for a little trot around the turn and he just responded well -- like he has all year. He has done everything pretty much effortlessly. He makes it look easy out there.

"As far as the 3-year-old ranks, there is really no one to challenge him. What a great horse he is. Mike Lachance and John Campbell, people like that who have seen all the great horses throughout many years, say he is the best they have ever seen. It’s an honor to sit behind a horse like that. It’s an honor to say I’ve sat behind one that good. They don’t come along very often.

"When I saw the three-quarters in 1:23(.4) I thought it was too much to ask him to try and break 1:50. I had to think of winning the race first. If we had ideal conditions, I don’t think he would have had too much trouble to get it done.

"When you have a three-horse entry you never know what might take place. It was great that I did draw the rail. Those are three colts that could make thing hards if they wanted to. When I drew the rail I was able to take control of the race.

"We’ve used all the expletives we can about him. He’s something special. I can’t believe the horse is so smart and so relaxed. He knows what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to race him from off the pace or the front end, he knows what you are trying to do. That makes my job so much easier. A lot of times horses won’t let you do what you want. He makes it so much easier. He has a great head on his shoulders.

"I was checking the weather all week. When I saw there was going to be 25 mph winds, I knew that was not in our favor. We are going to have dinner tonight and I am going to ask -- I’d love to see them race him again next week."

"This was a special day," said trainer Greg Peck. "It's really up there with the best moments of this year. Brian has taken great care of the horse. He has done a great job."

Muscle Hill, Big Bikkies win eliminations

Muscle Hill was a dominant 1:52.3 winner in the $108,000 second elimination of the Kentucky Futurity on Saturday. 

Muscle Hill took over the lead down the backstretch and drew away in the stretch for his 18th straight victory and tenth of his impressive sophomore campaign.

Sears gave his mount a breather to the 1:24.3 three-quarter panel, then trotted a final quarter of :28 to reach the finish line in 1:52.3. Explosive Matter held on for second while Broadway Bistro (George Brennan) was third. Fourth place finisher Russell Hill (John Campbell) and fifth place finisher Hot Shot Blue Chip (Mike Lachance) also qualified for the second heat.

"He was super," said winning driver Brian Sears. "He earned the front, but he didn't overdo it. I was really pleased with him. He hears the horses behind him and just picks up the bit on his own."

Adam Victor & Son Stable's Big Bikkies led every step of the mile in the $108,000 first elimination of the Kentucky Futurity.

Ron Pierce was in the bike for trainer Noel Daley as the Windsong's Legacy-Sheza Hot Cookie colt won his fifth straight race and sixth in 10 season's starts. His victory lifted his '09 bankroll to $179,594.

Big Bikkies, starting from post four in a short five-horse field, worked his way to the lead in an opening quarter timed in :27.1. He got a bit of a breather to the half-mile marker in :56, the was pushed by a first over Tom Cango (Mike Lachance) to the 1:25.1 three-quarter pole.

Heading down the stretch, Big Bikkies kicked it into another gear and trotted a final quarter in :28.1 to reach the finish line in 1:53.2. Neighsay Hanover (Trond Smedshammer), who was last for most of the mile, came wide down the middle of the stretch to finish second, while Dr McDreamy (Homer Hochstetler) picked up the third place check. Tom Cango faded to fourth and Airzoom Lindy (Tim Tetrick) was fifth.

"It's quite nice to win today," said owner Adam Victor as he spoke of Big Bikkies' breaking problems earlier this year. "I think Noel's the best trainer. He's a patient person to begin with. He just calms them down."

All five horses from the first elimination advanced to the second heat as Windshear was scratched sick.

Explosive Matter (Ron Pierce) protected the rail and took the field to the first panel in a time of :28. Muscle Hill got away third, but made a move to the front heading to the half-mile marker and cleared to command at the :55.1 half-mile marker.