Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Good is This Horse?

As we blog types chat about here - "great" is thrown around way too much in our game. If a horse wins some races, even if he is under the stick, or beating sub par horses, he gets the moniker. It is truly one of the most overused adjectives in our sport.

When a horse does something special is when we get a bit stoked that we might be seeing something worth talking about. For example, when the Beach won last year in 49 (easily) and set a world record, those who follow the game knew that something was up.

Well last night it happened again with Muscle Hill.

As we mentioned below while handicapping, this group of trotters is immensely talented. Rumour has it that earlier in the year a portion of Federal Flex was sold pro-rated at $2M. Explosive Matter (my pick against Muscle Hill last night... blush) was 5 for 5 and a world record holder. Hell, the one horse was a world record holder and he was a longshot.

Muscle Hill made them look like they did not even belong on the same racetrack.

Some history of the Breeders Crown for two year old colt trotters.

Last year:

Deweycheatumnhowe 3 1°/1 1/1H 1/1H 1/2T 1/1 1:57.2 29.1
Time: 28.4 57.1 1:28.1 1:57.2

Two years ago - Donato Hanover.

4 7°/7T 5°/6 2°/HD 1/1Q 1/4 1:56 30
Time: 28 57 1:26 1:56

Three years ago - Chocolatier.

1 4/5Q 1/2 1/H 1/1 1/2T 1:56.1 28.3
Time: 28.3 57.3 1:27.3 1:56.1

This year:

Muscle Hill
2 4/5T 1°/H 1/H 1/1 1/3 1:53.3 28.2

A world record - in November! A back three-quarters in 124 flat. He beats millionaires like Dewey, Donato and Chocolatier by an average of three seconds. He goes faster than the three year olds do a race later on the card! Want to know when a horse is special? Watch Sears in the stretch. He is pretty much a statue. And he is beating some awesome stock in a world record effort at 35 degrees. In the words of a gambling friend "never a doubt."

Repeating at three and capitalizing on promise for a horse like this is a challenge. In fact, the Haughton-Hambo double is very hard to do. Young trotters who show that kind of speed can get tweaked (just ask Snow White). But if by some chance this colt realizes this potential and comes back strong I think we are looking at the first 49 sophomore trotter in our sport.

In a nice gesture, Jerry Silva in the winners circle last night threw his solid support behind trainer Greg Peck. Greg is not a well known guy in racing and when the syndicates get together they tend to want the horse trained by someone else - a big name. Silva, paraphrasing, said 'many people called about this horse but it was always with the condition of 'get rid of Peck'. We don't do business like that.'

In a year in which Somebeachsomewhere is trained by a car salesman, and Dewey was driven by a trainer, I can not believe that people still think like this, but they do. I admire Silva for saying that. We need more fresh honesty in our game.

I am a Muscle Hill fan. Are you?

Photo courtesy Harnesslink and the Meadowlands


Anonymous said...

Well I am certainly impressed by Muscle Hill's effort but as you said, let's see how he comes back.

Bravo for Jerry Silva. It is so good to see an owner sticking by a trainer that has gotten him thus far; the practice of moving a horse to a big time trainer (common in t-breds as well)irks me. What is wrong with sticking with the person that brings you to the dance? Hopefully these people who wanted to can Greg Peck will be kicking themselves next year as Muscle Hill will be kicking their horses' butts.

Anonymous said...

153.3 in November is astounding! The question isn't how good is he; we already know he is a world champion. The qustion is: How good can he/will he be? I am guessing if he stays sound and has no breaking issues, you are right on the mark with the 1:49 prediction.

Anonymous said...

Well said indeed!
Greg Peck has over 25 years experience as a successful trainer - first in Canada and then in the United States since 1990 as I recall. Although not as well known as some others perhaps, his success with Muscle Hill follows on the heels of Palone Ranger and many others.
For those of us who have followed his career, he is a thoughtful and higly skilled trainerwho brings a lot of hard work and passion to his skills. Perhaps now his world-record breaking win will bring him greater 'name recognition'.
So congratulations to Jerry Silva for choosing quality and performance over some of the 'big names' in training circles.
Keep up your great blog!

Wind Gatherer said...

Funny, how, with no exposure one is unaware of things. Then comes along an entertaining and informative source and you start to feel like you have been missing out on all the fun.

I feel a visit to Maywood coming on.

You are too generous with your praise and links. Thanks.

Pull the Pocket said...

We're gonna make you a harness fan yet, Not Really. Really.

Watch out. You will be talking sulkies and gaits and all that neat stuff soon. Hey if the Handride fella can go to a harness race this is wide open dude. :)

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