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Haryott, Nichol Discuss OSS Gold Final

Published: October 1, 2010 10:56 am ET

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When Grumpy Jake sprinted by fan favourite Text Me to capture last week’s Gold elimination, Mohawk Racetrack fans were not the only ones taken by surprise.

“It sure was a surprise,” admitted owner Bryan Haryott. “I never expected to beat Text Me; he is such a good horse. We’ve been chasing him all last year and this year.”

Grumpy Jake and Text Me will return to Mohawk Monday, October 4 for the second-last $130,000 Gold final of their sophomore season, and the colts will be lining up alongside each other for a second straight week — Grumpy Jake from Post 4 and Text Me at Post 5.

“Keep your fingers crossed for Monday night,” said Haryott. “It would be nice to get a win in there, but if he can get a good piece of it Monday, at least we’re guaranteed a spot in the Super Final.”

Currently ranked seventh in the three-year-old trotting colt point standings, Grumpy Jake could nail down one of 10 spots on the starting gate in the November 13 Super Final with another strong effort Monday. A two-time Gold elimination winner last season, Grumpy Jake finished up his freshman campaign with a runner-up performance in the $300,000 Super Final.

Based on his $184,719 freshman season, Haryott and trainer Michael Guitard of Campbellville, Ont. were expecting Grumpy Jake to have a significant presence in the sophomore battles, but last week’s victory was the gelding’s first in 14 starts. In Gold Series action prior to last week’s elim, Grumpy Jake had only accumulated 17 points, from a third in the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk on May 23 and a fifth in the July 3 Gold eliminations at Georgian Downs.

“I was expecting more out of the horse at the beginning of the year than what we ended up with,” noted Haryott. “I was a little bit disappointed.

“He’s had a lot of bad racing luck lately, and bad post positions, and a couple of times he didn’t seem to finish his miles up very well,” added the Woodbridge, Ont. resident.

Haryott is hoping the win signifies a change in the gelding’s luck and bodes well not just for Monday night, but for the next six weeks.

“I don’t think he’s going to be a super horse,” said the longtime owner. “But he’s always shown he has potential.”

Grumpy Jake got a flawless steer from Steve Condren last week, and the Milton, Ont. resident will be back in the race bike for Monday’s $130,000 test. In addition to defending Gold final champion Text Me, the pair will face the other elimination winner, Arriba Amigo, who will be hampered by the outside Post 10.

“Somebody had to get it I guess,” says Arriba Amigo’s part-owner Mac Nichol, of Burlington, Ont. “He’s had his ups and downs, that’s for sure.”

Amigo Hall gelding Arriba Amigo has delivered two Gold elimination trophies to Nichol and his partners Robert Burgess of Campbellville, Ont., Karin Olsson Burgess of Milton, Ont. and Champagne Stable of Toronto, Ont., but has been unable to hit the top three in Gold final action. Through 14 starts, the Blair Burgess trainee has tallied three wins, two seconds, one third and $120,963 in earnings.

Regular reinsman Trevor Ritchie of Acton, Ont. will steer Arriba Amigo from Post 10 on Monday, and Nichol says that when the gate folds they will be counting on the expertise of the trotting specialist.

“It’s all up to Trevor once that gate leaves,” said the owner. “He has shown he is a very fast trotter, he’s just got some issues.”

The three-year-old trotting colts will wage their second-last $130,000 Gold final battle in Race 5 on Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday evening program, which will get underway at 7:20 p.m. with two divisions of the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series.

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