Keep Asking Returns Home For Bunker Hill Trot

Keep Asking winning at Plainridge Park

The Grand Circuit returns to Plainridge Park on Thursday, May 16 featuring the $100,000 USD Bunker Hill Trot for three-year-olds. Six trotters have entered the race, but one of the key players is a hometown hero, born and raised.

Keep Asking (Chapter Seven-Sensibility) was foaled in Rochester, Massachusetts in April of 2021 and was destined for dual stakes eligibility, a result of Massachusetts’ resident mare program. And the colt took full advantage of all his opportunities during a freshman year that ended with him becoming a Massachusetts Sire Stakes champion. 

George Ducharme, who is also from Massachusetts (namely Walpole, just a few pylons down the road from Plainridge), trains Keep Asking and he looked back on his star trotter’s first year on the track.

"He’s a little on the smaller side, so we kept him for just New York and Massachusetts and it worked out fine," said Ducharme. "He turned out to be a pretty good horse. He earned some money and everyone was happy."

His first six lifetime starts were in the New York Sire Stakes where he earned $148,813 by winning twice, finishing second and third one time each and never missing a cheque. He made the $225,000 final but drew post eight in adverse weather, got caught third-over in traffic and eventually finished eighth, but only beaten 3-3/4 lengths.

“He had done everything we’d asked him to do," said Ducharme. "When he got good at the end, he drew the eight-hole for the [NYSS] final and it came down pouring buckets that day at Yonkers. He really had no chance that day."

At that point, Keep Asking’s stay in New York had ended for the year, but his season was far from over.

Ducharme and Keep Asking headed back home in late September to compete in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes, which turned out to be a series he would go on to sweep.

The trotter won all three preliminary legs by a combined margin of 15 lengths and entered the $150,000 final as the prohibitive 1-9 favourite. And Keep Asking didn’t disappoint as he closed out his year with a 1:55.4 victory and put another $135,000 in the bank for his four-week stand in the Commonwealth.

“We went back to Massachusetts and he dominated there and did it easily," said Ducharme. "He’s good and strong, finishing his miles. We didn’t have to stretch him out chasing and shipping him all over the country. That really made a difference and his confidence level really perked up at the end. He knew he was a good horse at the end, winning all those races. We’re happy with him that way.

“We raced the mare [Sensibility] so it’s a good story that our homebred turned out to be what he is so far. I really like his attitude and he really likes his job. He was very willing every time we asked him to make the next step and did it easily.”

Keep Asking will be making his first start of this year in the Bunker Hill Trot and looks to be a major contender coming off an easy gate-to-wire qualifier in 1:54.2 at Vernon Downs. But this may only be the start of something big as the colt is heavily staked this season.

“He’s filled out and matured," said Ducharme. "He’s Hambo eligible. We paid him to the Canadian Trotting Classic, Breeders Crown, all that stuff. He’ll tell us what he’s ready for, but if he’s good enough, we’re going to give him a go for sure. We’ll get him over the big track and stretch him out a bit.

“I think he's going to improve. Whether he can make the next step this year? We're going to give him a chance to find out and let him tell us where he fits best. It looks like two of them [Karl and T C I] are heads and shoulders above everyone else, off of last year anyway.  

"I think he'll be able to play with that group below Karl and T C I but we kept New York and Mass., so if he’s not good enough, he falls back into that league."

The $100,000 USD Bunker Hill Trot is carded as race five on Thursday with an estimated post time of 5:20 p.m. Post time for the first race at Plainridge Park is at 4 p.m. The complete field is listed below in post position order.

$100,000 USD Battle Of Bunker Hill Trot
Post - Horse - Trainer - Driver - Morning Line Odds
1. Show Me - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 15-1
2. Spaaaanzano - Aaron Merriman - Chris Beaver - 9-5
3. French Kronos - Mattias Melander - Marcus Melander - 5-1
4. Dejerate Hanover - Bruce Rnger - Domenico Cecere - 9-2
5. Memorynimagination - Brett Beckwith - Mark Beckwith - 7-2
6. Keep Asking - Scott Zeron - George Ducharme - 3-1

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts & USTA)

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