O U Gus Making Steady Gains
Published: September 19, 2007 2:24 pm ET
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O U Gus may not be setting the world on fire, but the two-year-old trotting colt has been ultra consistent for trainer Jerry Duford and will be looking for his first career win in Sunday's Gold Elimination at Mohawk Racetrack.
Through eight starts the son of Angus Hall and former Gold Series competitor O U Guys has recorded two seconds, two thirds, one fourth and two fifths for earnings of $60,530. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame driver Bill O'Donnell, O U Gus has not missed a cheque since his July 9 debut.
"He's getting a little better all the time," says Campbellville resident Duford. "Bill (O'Donnell) is taking his time with him and he's getting better all the time."
O'Donnell and O U Gus will line up from Post 2 in the second $51,649 Gold Elimination on Sunday; a draw that should suit the gelding's come from behind racing style. Duford was also pleased to see his protégé draw away from reigning Gold Final winner Pizzazzed and William Wellwood Memorial winner Windsong Espoir, who will battle in the first elimination.
"I think he hit the better of the two, and there are not quite so many, only two divisions," notes the trainer, who shares ownership on O U Gus with breeder Glengate Farms of Campbellville. "That's good for him.
"He can't seem to leave much, but he's trotting for home pretty good," adds Duford.
The top five finishers from each elimination will earn a return ticket to Mohawk for the Sept. 30 Gold Final, and Duford would love to see O U Gus among them - with just a few more steady performances the gelding will assure himself of a spot in the lucrative Super Final. Through his first two Gold Series appearances the young trotter accumulated 54 points, putting him eighth in the race for one of 10 spots in the $300,000 season finale.
Duford says the gelding's health and weight have withstood the first two months of the campaign, and the trotter is currently enjoying a relaxed work regimen, with an eye to maintaining his fitness until the end of the long season.
"He's out in the paddock every morning before we jog him," says the veteran horseman. "He jogs lightly every day, that's all I do with him right now, he's been racing every week.
"He's hanging in there good. He's not too hard on himself."
The easy-going youngster will face off against eight peers on Sunday, three newcomers to the Gold Series and five veterans, including Aug. 10 Gold Final winner B Strike Three who will start from Post 8.
In the first elimination Windsong Espoir will put his four race unbeaten streak on the line from Post 3, while Pizzazzed begins the fight to retain his Gold Final crown from Post 6.
Mohawk Racetrack's Sunday evening program begins at 7:20 p.m., with the two-year-old trotting colts slated for battle in the first and fourth races.