Pilot Discretion Retired, To Stud

Published: January 28, 2020 06:44 pm EST

Goodtimes champion and 2019 O'Brien Award finalist Pilot Discretion has been retired and will be standing stud in 2020.

That news came from the trotter's former co-owner during his stellar sophomore campaign, Ontario's David Anderson. Anderson co-owned the son of Muscle Hill - Self Indulgent with Rob Leblanc of Austin, Tex. and John Fodera of Staten Island, N.Y. but sold Pilot Discretion to interests in Indiana. He'll be standing at Premier Acres this season.

"We had an incredible year with Pilot," Anderson told Trot Insider in his reflection on the 2019 season. "Anytime you can be behind the gate in races like the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown it’s a banner year."

Anderson is no stranger to banner years but has enjoyed those most recently on the Thoroughbred side of the industry. He and his father Bob Anderson became involved with Standardbreds about 20 years ago, campaigning past O'Brien Award winners the likes of Pampered Princess.

David & Bob Anderson (third and second from R) as part of the group accepting the O'Brien Award for Cabrini Hanover in 2004

When Bob passed away suddenly in November 2010, Dave stepped back from Standardbreds to focus on the family's Anderson Farms thoroughbred nursery based in St. Thomas, Ont. But the itch to get back into the sulky side was always there. As it turns out, Anderson almost hit the jackpot when he returned to the yearling game in 2017.

"I must admit that I really missed harness racing. My first foray back came two years ago as the unsuccessful underbidder on Greenshoe. At the same sale we then successfully landed Pilot Discretion.

"I have been buying colts in partnerships rather than fillies as we did previously. I think it’s more exciting to enjoy the racing with other people and try and develop a potential stallion prospect."

Having successfully completed with Pilot Discretion, a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase that banked $486,475 in his 18 lifetime starts, Anderson can reflect on the season that was with his prospect turned stallion.

"The highlight of the year was definitely winning the Goodtimes at Mohawk. It had been nearly 10 years since I had I actually been back there. That’s a long time between drinks!"

Anderson spoke highly of Pilot Discretion's on-track connections, trainer Tony Alagna and his team as well as primary driver Andy McCarthy, for the tremendous job they did with the talented trotter. When 2019 started, Pilot Discretion had only two lifetime starts and he entered the Goodtimes off of back-to-back conditioned wins at The Meadowlands and just four lifetime starts.

"I am very grateful to Tony Alagna and Andy McCarthy for their training and driving prowess this past year," stated Anderson. "There are so many moving parts in this game and having a team like these guys makes success very rewarding."

That rewarding team atmosphere also extends to the ownership group as well, with Anderson noting that LeBlanc was the one that informed him of Pilot Discretion's O'Brien Award nomination.

"Rob is a fellow Canadian and albeit a relatively new player, he has had some incredible success the last couple of years. He's an enthusiastic guy and it’s always fun to be involved with people you have luck with. He is really the reason I got back in the game and enjoying it again."

Boasting O'Brien Award wins of his own in the past with Pampered Princess plus those of his late father's, Anderson would love to add another trophy this weekend but faces a tall task as Pilot Discretion is a finalist along with 2019 Hambletonian winner Forbdidden Trade. Regardless of the outcome, Anderson will be on-hand at the Hilton Meadowvale / Mississauga this weekend and is thrilled to be part of the celebration of excellence.

"The O’Briens are the pinnacle of our country’s best," noted Anderson. "I am really looking forward to attending this year and am truly honoured to have a horse on the ballot."

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