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The Return Of San Pail

Published: January 2, 2015 10:16 am ET

Last Comment: January 2, 2015 11:30 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

One trotter landed two races in the top 10 of Trot Magazine's top 40 on-track moments of the last 40 years. That horse will look to add more memorable moments with a return to the track in 2015.

Rod Hughes told Trot Insider that San Pail will be entered in a qualifier for Monday at Woodbine Racetrack. Now 11, San Pail has not raced since April 19 when he made an uncharacteristic break. According to trainer and co-owner Hughes, the son of San Pellegrino - Village Beauty was never shut down and quit with during that stretch.

"We'd try to give him a week [off] here and there but he'd just stand at the gate and want in. And then when you brought him in he'd just want to get out there with the other horses. He jogged pretty much every day, all Summer."

With Hughes noting that San Pail hasn't required any vet work since April, the main difference in the horse has been the shoeing.

"The only thing we've changed is his shoeing up front," stated Hughes. "I put a set of bar shoes on him; I had flip flops on him all summer and he trained OK in those but never really gave me any signs of 'I'm going to go qualify' so I put the bars on him and he just started to train so much I took him to Woodbine and trained him the last three weeks in there.

"He dropped time each week and got stronger and better. We took him to the vet, they looked him over and everything looks to be pretty good -- they said he might be looking better than when we brought him back before. So everything lined and up and we'll see if now he holds up to the speed."

Hughes has been pleased enough with those training miles and the horse's attitude, unlike that scratch from his last charted line in May.

"He just wasn't 100 per cent; not quite himself so we said 'no, that's it...we won't go on with him if he don't like how he is right now'."

#9 on Trot's Top 40 Moments of the Past 40 Years

San Pail, 2011's Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S. is co-owned by Port Perry's Glenn Van Camp. The triple millionaire has won 52 of his 114 lifetime starts, with his last win coming on October 7, 2013 at Woodbine. He was guided to victory in that race by regular driver Randy Waples, who returns to the WEG circuit as well off his self-imposed hiatus with six drives on Saturday.

"We'll see where Randy thinks he is off the qualifier and we'll go from there. If all goes well we'll continue on. It will be nice to see him back," continued Hughes. "If he can't be a solid cheque getter in the upper classes, that will be it. We won't run him through the ranks."

San Pail was actually ready enough in the eyes of Hughes to return last month, but the weather didn't co-operate as Hughes didn't want to risk anything by training over deep and sloppy tracks. Old Man Winter could also throw a roadblock to Hughes as South-Western Ontario could start getting some serious Winter weather this weekend.

"I know they're calling for it to get a little cold on Monday but as long as it's not icy roads or anything, I think we'll go."


January 2, 2015 - 11:30 amThat's like Wayne Gretzky ,

Mike Scott SAID...

That's like Wayne Gretzky , returning to the oilers . Love this champion horse , so much ! 2015 will be a cooker if he is himself :))

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