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Praise For Maxwell, Byron

Published: June 30, 2011 5:02 pm ET

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It was no doubt a significant investment, $135,000, to be specific, for Steve Heimbecker, but it’s one he will tell you that has paid off handsomely in every conceivable way.

When Heimbecker, a 36-year-old Waterloo resident, made the decision to purchase Hare Craft, he wasn’t certain if his pacer would be a head-turner and headliner.

Now, he has the answer.

On June 5, Trot Insider broke the news in an exclusive story with Heimbecker and trainer Ryan Maxwell that Hare Craft was coming to Canada.

Trained by Maxwell and driven by Aaron Byron, the three-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser--Hare Trigger scored a five-and-a-half-length win in an overnight event at Mohawk Racetrack on June 21 in an impressive 1:49.3.

Hare Craft looks to repeat that sub-1:50 effort this Saturday in another overnight race at Mohawk. The sub-1:50 mile was a first for the team of Heimbecker, Maxwell and Byron.

Heimbecker, who was on a fishing expedition in North Carolina on race night, was caught off guard when he was reached on the telephone after the performance.

“Aaron was the one who told me, but at first he didn‘t mention that we won,” Heimbecker commented. “He said that we bumped into a big mile of 1:49.3. My initial response was wondering if we got a cheque. Then he told me we won the race. I was super excited. I don’t think I could even talk afterwards. I’ve never had a horse go that quick. I would have loved to have been there, but I was elated.”

The six-time winner currently co-holds the most points for a three-year-old colt in the Ohio Sires Stakes with 102 and on July 9, Hare Craft will return to his native land for his first stakes engagement at Northfield Park for his new connections.

Heimbecker, who currently has a pair of two-year-olds in training with Maxwell, noted that it was an easy decision to hand him the reins of Hare Craft.

“I really like his attitude,” Heimbecker said of his conditioner. “I don‘t mind dealing with the young guys because they need an opportunity. At some point in their lives or careers, they need the green light and they make the most of it. I’ve had a couple conversations with him in the past and he was always around whether it was at the track or the sales.

“He didn’t race a lot of horses, which appealed to me as well, because I like dealing with a smaller stable.”

Since Heimbecker bought Hare Craft, regular B-track driver, Aaron Byron, has been given the driving assignment in both starts.

“First of all, I think Aaron is a very honest person. He’s really good at his craft and he‘s very underrated. He has the ambition to do a lot of great things, which is what I want to do. I want to win big races and so does he. There could be a lot of firsts that we all enjoy together.”

With the budget that Heimbecker gave Maxwell to purchase Hare Craft, there were many possible purchase opportunities, but Maxwell was interested in the Ohio-sired horse.

“Ryan came across Hare Craft for me. I own a pair of two-year-olds right now with him and I wanted a racehorse, so I told Ryan to find me something. He did a tremendous job. He did his homework and went to Scioto Downs in Ohio and jogged the horse. He liked him and the rest is history.”

Heimbecker, owner of Mortgage Architects in Waterloo, has been following harness racing since he was a child. He and his father, Fred, often made regular visits to Mohawk Racetrack and Elmira Raceway.

“I have an admiration for the animal. I appreciate the animal…it’s not just a business investment to me.”

With earnings of $91,244 in his career, Hare Craft is eligible to contest the Ohio Breeders Championship on Little Brown Jug day in Delaware, Ohio.

“I love the ‘Jug,’” Heimbecker said. “The atmosphere is just tremendous and to have a horse race on that day is something special. Again, it would a first for all of us and if he stays healthy and strong, I think he‘s got a good shot at winning.”

To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.


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