Going into Saturday's (September 11) New Jersey Sire Stakes - Standardbred Development Fund final for 3-year-old filly pacers, Mikala looked very tough to beat. She won the first leg two weeks ago by 3 1/4 lengths, and was a winner of five of 11 races this year.
Not only did she win at 1/9 odds, she set a new track record, pacing the mile in 1:52.1.
Leaving from the inside post, she began on top, but allowed Always B Laughin to take the lead and set the early pace, while rating in the pocket. Always B Laughin set fast early fractions, going the first quarter in 27 seconds and the first half in 55.1 seconds.
As they neared the three-quarter point, George Brennan decided the time was right, and moved Mikala out of the pocket and after the lead. With little resistance from Always B Laughin, Mikala took charge and opened up a comfortable lead turning for home. The only question in the stretch was if she'd set a new track record, and she did, breaking the old mark by two-fifths of a second.
The previous record was 1:52.3, set by Ticket to Rock in the 2010 NJSS Final.
Mikala is owned by Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, Anthony Peretti Farm, and Drennan Stable, and trained by Nik Drennan. She's now won six times from 14 starts lifetime, with earnings of more than $150,000.
Earlier in the day, Imaginary Line won the second leg of the NJSS-SDF for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Bouncing back from a fourth-place finish last week in Leg 1, he won by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3, two seconds slower than the three-year-old record set by One More Laugh in the 2010 Cane Pace. That mark is also the all-time Freehold record. Vinny Ginsburg had the winning drive for owners Robert Weinstein and Joshua Graber and trainer Jenn Bongiorno.
Live harness racing resumes at Freehold on Friday (September 17), starting at about 12:30 p.m.