'Percy' Loves The Home Cooking


The name Percys Z Tam may not be recognized on the Grand Circuit stage, but it sure is in New York State. Percys Z Tam has begun to thrive again since his return home to where it all began.

Percys Z Tam, a $75,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase in 2015, showed a lot of promise through his two-year-old season for owners M & M Harness Racing, Royal Flush Stable, Z Tam Stables and trainer Pat Lachance.

After qualifying at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Meadowlands Racetrack, Lachance put his then-blossoming two-year-old into the New York Excelsior Series 'A' program. Percys Z Tam excelled on a half-mile track in 2016, as all five of his victories came over a 'four-turn' oval. His only miscue was at Vernon Downs, where he made a break heading to the three-quarters pole. He would go on to finish a disappointing ninth. Percys Z Tam concluded his season with a victory in an Excelsior Series final at Saratoga Casino Hotel after have made up five and three-quarter lengths in the final quarter of the mile.

In 2017, Percys Z Tam's three-year-old season wasn’t as easy of a road, as the hard-hitting son of American Ideal-Mintjulep Bluechip scored just one victory on his way to another New York Excelsior final. This time in the Excelsior final, though, he had too much ground to make up, and it was Geez Joe that cruised to an easy front-end victory.

After a private purchase near the end of his four-year-old season, Percys Z Tam was brought to Northfield Park under the care of trainer Herman Hagerman. Percys Z Tam won his first start in northeast Ohio, but the long 2018 season caught up with the talented gelding, as he didn’t hit the board for the remainder of the year.

Percys Z Tam returned the following season (in 2019) and hit the board in 16 of his 44 starts and banked just over $30,000.

Percys Z Tam made his return to New York via the 2020 Blooded Horse Sale as a $14,500 purchase for owner Mike Torcello and trainer Gerry Sarama. Torcello saw a lot of promise in the hard-knocking gelding and thought the return home would be good for him.

“I thought he would be a good fit in western New York. His best racing took place at the New York half-mile tracks as a two- and three-year-old,” said Torcello. “I thought someone might try to buy him and take him back to Yonkers; luckily I was able to get him for a reasonable price and shipped him to Buffalo.”

Torcello’s focus when purchasing stock is to try and find horses that can get around the half-mile tracks at Buffalo or Batavia. The move back to New York proved to be beneficial: Percys Z Tam quickly moved up the ranks, as he won three of his first five starts while facing some of the area’s top pacers.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut racing down, there was some uncertainty about what Percys Z Tam's training schedule would look like. Although, thanks to the management of Buffalo Raceway, Percys Z Tam was able to adjust to his new schedule well.

“We were fortunate in WNY that management, through an agreement with the horsemen’s association, has allowed us to remain on the racetrack and keep horses in training pointed towards a reopen whenever the state deems it safe,” said Torcello.

Looking ahead to the gelding’s future, Torcello says the uncertainty that surrounds the sport makes it difficult to know if they will race him on a different circuit than the one he is on now.

“Our plan is to continue racing in WNY as we have done in the past; I think it is the perfect place for a horse like 'Percy.' We’re all going to have to be flexible depending on when and where racing resumes.”

Percys Z Tam is just one of 18 horses trained by 50-year veteran Gerry Sarama and second-trainer Sam Smith. His caretaker, Sierra Smith, has cared for him since entering the barn.

“He knows how to take care of himself,” said Smith. “I love horses that know what works for them and can relax and do what they have to do.”


Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.