by Dean Hoffman
It was a start unlike anyone had ever seen at Delaware.
When driver Jack Moiseyev put Precious Bunny in place behind the starting gate for his elimination heat in the 1991 Little Brown Jug, he knew exactly where he wanted to be. He wanted to be in front and in command of the race. That’s the way to win races on most half-mile tracks and it’s certainly the way to win at Delaware with its short homestretch.
Precious Bunny had drawn post six, a tough assignment at Delaware. Inside him were formidable foes such as Die Laughing, Three Wizzards, and Black Gold Road.
Most drivers, as they ease their horses into position behind the accelerating starting gate, use their peripheral vision to see what their rivals on either side of them are doing. Are they tacking back? Are they leaving?
Jack Moiseyev didn’t look sideways at the start. He was only looking forward.
Precious Bunny practically pushed the starting gate out of his way and took off like a scalded ape. While the winds of the gate were still folding and the pacers had yet to reach the actual starting line, Precious Bunny had more than a length’s edge on his foes. The race was over. Moiseyev back the tempo down once he got to the front and dared – simply dared – anyone to challenge him.
After all, Precious Bunny had come alive that year with victories in the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. And things were made much easier for Precious Bunny in the Jug when his rival Artsplace took sick and stood in his stall on Jug Day.
Nuke Skywalker and Easy Goer also won elimination heats,but when the pacers paraded to the post for the second heat, Precious Bunny was an overwhelming favorite at odds of 30 cents on the dollar. And he raced up to expectations by setting all the fractions in the mile and winning by ¾-length over Nuke Skywalker in 1:55.
But it was that jackrabbit start that gave Precious Bunny the big edge on Jug Day in 1991.
This year’s 69th Annual Little Brown Jug is brought to you by Fazoli’s