The richest field in track history took center stage Monday night at Harrington Raceway in the $317,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial as Joe Muscara's Mister Big ($2.60, Brian Sears) earned his ninth consecutive win in 1:51.2.
The Virgil Morgan Jr. trainee received a second-over trip as pacesetter Booze Cruzin strolled to fractions of 27.3, 54.2, and 1:22.3 while the 1-to-5 betting choice Mister Big mounted his attack behind a first-over Kenneth J. Sears tipped Mister Big three wide on the final turn and the 5-year-old Grinfromeartoear stallion did the rest as he surged by for a one length win over Maltese Artist and Won the West, who finished second in a dead heat. Maltese Artist won the 2007 Quillen final.
"He had good pace," said Sears of Mister Big. "I thought ideally if I could be first over, that would be the best scenario for me, but he was able to come three wide and everything worked out for the best."
Mister Big earned his berth in the final with a win in his elimination on October 13 in 1:51.1.
"I was really pleased with the way he got around the track," said Sears. "Virgil has done a great job with him. He is definitely a special horse. Track size doesn't really matter that much with him, but he is a good sized horse so I think he appreciates the big track. What a pleasure it is to drive this horse. I just want to thank he and the owner for the opportunity. Sorry he couldn't be here tonight, but he is a great guy and I love the opportunity he has given me."
While Muscara wasn't able to make the trip, his sons Bob and Joe Muscara Jr. were in attendance.
Mister Big has now banked nearly $3.3 million in his illustrious career.
The race is named in honor of late Delaware legislator and long time Harrington Raceway/Delaware State Fair Board Member Bobby Quillen. Quillen was a regular at the racetrack and a popular member of the community who always had the horsemen's best interests at heart.
Earlier on the program, Arty Foster Jr.'s Village Blitz was awarded Horse of the Meet honors from the United States Harness Writers' Association's Delaware Valley Chapter. 'Blitz' made seven trips to the winners circle during the 2008 Harrington meet, while banking more than $80,000.
"I'm real lucky to have him," said Foster Jr. "He loves to race and I'm thrilled to have a horse like him."