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January Select Mixed Sale Complete

Published: January 18, 2016 9:10 pm ET

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Three of the highest priced horses sold in Monday's January Select Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands will be headed north of the border as two friends look to move forward following the Classy Lane Training Centre fire that claimed the lives of 43 horses earlier this month.

Lindys Tru Grit fetched the highest price of the session. The multiple stakes-winning regally-bred racehorse was collared by Ontario's Brad Grant for $125,000. Grant lost four horses in the fire, all trained by Ben Wallace.

“I lost a great horse in Apprentice Hanover,” said Grant. “I got a lot of comments from horsepeople who thought this was going to be his year. But you get back up and you go back at it. This gets Ben back up and running and racing right away. We’ve known each other for 40 years and he’s probably trained my horses for 20 or 25."

In addition to Lindys Tru Grit, Grant also purchased four-year-old female pacer A Plus for $80,000 and three-year-old male pacer Easy Lover Hanover for $70,000.

“I wanted a top-end trotter and I think (Lindys Tru Grit) was the best one in the sale by far. I think he’s just one step below the great ones. He’ll fit in Toronto; he’ll race real well against the Preferred up there. I’m excited about it. I want top-end horses and I think all three of them will be.”

In 51 career starts, Lindys Tru Grit (Cantab Hall - True Lindy) has a 10-10-6 record and a mark of 1:52.1 taken last year at The Meadowlands. The six-year-old trotting stallion knocked off some of the division's best as a three-year-old, winning the Simcoe at Mohawk as well as the American National at Balmoral Park. As an aged horse, he's knocked heads with the best open trotters on the continent.

A Plus doesn't have the stakes resume that Lindys Tru Grit might have but the talented pacer does have impeccable form on her side. In her most recent start, the four-year-old American Ideal - Has An Attitude paced in 1:51.3 -- just three ticks off her lifetime best. A Plus and Easy Lover Hanover were both previously trained by Tony Alagna.

“I talked to Tony about them and he was high on them both,” Grant said. “They’ll fit in classes in Toronto right away. That’s the part we do like. I think the mare could end up being an outstanding mare down the road. We’re excited about both of them.”

Grant said the outpouring of support from the industry following the Classy Lane fire was overwhelming. A GoFundMe page set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association has raised more than $365,000 so far.

“It’s been amazing,” Grant said. “It’s just amazing, the outpouring from everywhere. It’s not just locally, it’s everywhere. It’s been tremendous.

“You’ll never get over what you lost. They’re as much your family as they are racehorses. They’re your life. It’s been devastating. But the industry rallied around it. It’s just an amazing industry. You can’t say enough about the people in it. You want to win every race and beat them every night, but when somebody is down on their luck this industry seems to rally around them.”

While these three horses will be heading to Canadian soil, one prominent competitor will be leaving. Dont Rush was purchased by trainer Josh Green for $100,000. Now four, Dont Rush (Infinitif - Color Me Pretty) posted eerily similar campaigns at two and three -- each time earning a shade over $296,000.

“I loved the look of him,” Green said. “I loved the size; he’s just kind of a medium-small horse. I just thought he was well made. I’ve bought some horses from Dustin Jones and he’s a great trainer and does a nice job with them. He helps me out with them. He’s a good guy.

“(Dont Rush) will start out at Dover and we’ll see how it goes from there. But he’ll probably finish out the meet at Dover. It’s always tough buying the three-year-olds turning four. There’s always high risk there. But I think the horse has been a pretty consistent horse. The four-year-old year, our big thing is to just try to protect them.”

The back-to-back Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final winner was campaigned by trainer Dustin Jones, who co-owned the trotting stallion with Greg Judson.

Four-year-old trotting stallion Maestro Blue Chip was next on the list of top-selling horses. He was purchased for $90,000 by Richard Poillucci of Massachusetts. The horse, who has won three of 14 races in his career and earned $84,173, will be trained by Jim King Jr. and is being pointed toward April’s Yonkers Raceway/SOA of New York Bonus Trotting Series.

Maestro Blue Chip was trained previously by Trond Smedshammer, who guided the horse to a career-best 1:53.4 win on Jan. 8 at the Meadowlands. It was the horse’s first time on Lasix.

“He’s a young, fresh trotter,” said Poillucci, who owns seven horses and was among the owners of late trotting star Modern Family. “Fresh horses are hard to come by. We’ll see how he matures and how he progresses. That was the horse I was looking at. I thought he was the best for what I was looking for.”

The average price for the sale's 225 racehorses was $24,551, while the 33 stallion shares entered in the sale brought an average just under $10,000 at $9,860. To view the results from Monday's sale, click the following link: January Select Mixed Sale Results.

(with files from HRC)

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