Perhaps those American connections panicked when they unloaded Auckland Reactor and sent him packing back to New Zealand. To be fair, Auckland Reactor was supposed to return to stand stud and demand was not sufficient enough so he returned to the races so some of his own countrymen had doubts in him as well. Yet, in his first parimutuel start since his exile, the Reactor set a New Zealand record of a 1:52.9 for the 1609m (one mile) contest in the $14,551 Magic Mile at Ashburton on Saturday, February 12 (Sunday morning Eastern Time). For a replay of the race, you click here (Windows Media Player).
While it was not a high profile victory, it should be noted one of the better horses in New Zealand, Monkey King was in the contest so the race was not a walkover. The last 800m were contested in a moderate :54.9 but the last 400m was a brisk :25.4. Auckland Reactor who drew post seen started from the six hole with the scratch of one of the contestants. The winning margin was 2.3m over the second place finisher Raglan.
How do the new owners explain Auckland Reactor's poor efforts in the United States ("Cowboy Land")? They contend his poor efforts were due to sickness. Who is to say? We did see him falter in his American starts, yet they probably can be explained by his surgery in the States before his return to New Zealand. Whether or not an Auckland Reactor is as good as his backers originally claimed we never will know as the chance for a rematch is virtually non-existent. But that is what makes racing special, the 'what ifs'.
Meanwhile, Natalie Rasmussen's dream of a fifth victory in the Inter-Dom has taken a likely fatal blow with Black's A Fake suffering from a bout of atril fibrillation for the second time in his career this weekend during training, While not formally withdrawn from the Interdominion, odds are this set back will eliminate any possibility of a start in the biggest event in the Australasian harness racing calendar. All indications are Blackie will be retired if he has not returned to his normal heart rhythm by his next examination early this week