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Race Rewind: 1990 Breeders Crown

Published: October 15, 2013 9:50 am ET

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With the Breeders Crown celebrating its 30th anniversary, Trot Insider looks back on the first Canadian-sired winner of the prestigious championship series for the first instalment of a new Standardbred Canada website feature.

“Race Rewind” will showcase historical race video from the Standardbred Canada archives. The first feature looks back at one of the most popular stars in Canadian harness racing.

It took seven years for a Canadian-sired horse to win a Breeders Crown. But on November 2, 1990, No Sex Please stepped onto the racetrack at Florida’s Pompano Park and made history with his third world record performance in the $221,458 Breeders Crown Open Trot for trainer and owner Ron Waples Jr. The then five-year-old Brisco Hanover-Gay Ann Herbert gelding was driven to a 1:55 career-best victory by Waples’ Hall of Fame father Ron Sr.

Scratched sick from the Breeders Crown the previous season, No Sex Please was the favourite in the 1990 edition.

“He’d been racing good [heading into the Breeders Crown],” recalled Waples Jr. in an interview with Trot Insider. “If I remember correctly, before he hit Florida he won in [1]:55, which was a world record at the time in Lexington, Ky. in the Speedy Scot. He had actually tied up just before that so he was pretty good then and I assumed, you never know, but with my dad driving him and everything he seemed to be good going into it. Whether he would win it or not, I expected him to race well.”

Although Waples Jr. had to watch the race from home in Ontario after missing his flight to Florida due to a water line break at his farm, the victory was no less thrilling for the 26-year-old trainer.

“I think it opened up the door for a lot of Ontario-breds,” said Waples Jr. reflecting on the milestone for Canadian harness racing more than two decades later. “I think before that nobody really thought they could go with the American horses. After that, I think people started to take notice of the breeding and the Sires Stakes up here, and especially when Balanced Image came along, it seemed the floodgates opened and then there were all kinds of Americans buying up Ontario-bred horses.”

After an injury limited his 1991 season during which Balanced Image son Billyjojimbob took the Breeders Crown title, No Sex Please returned to win his second Breeders Crown at age seven in 1992.

“I was always just happy to see him perform up to his ability,” said Waples Jr.

With a one-two punch of a flawless gait and intelligence, No Sex Please displayed the qualities of a champion.

“He was so long-gaited, very long-gaited, he strode out as much up front as he did behind and covered so much ground in a stride,” said Waples “That was probably one of his biggest qualities and just his smarts, he was pretty smart.”

Waples really began to recognize the trotter’s potential during his sophomore campaign when he finished second to eventual Hambletonian champion Armbro Goal in the Beacon Course at the Meadowlands Racetrack in a 1:54.4 mile.

“He was good as a two-year-old, but I drove him all the time as a two-year-old. He just did his job. He pulled me around there, I should have known right then that he had to be some good,” he laughed. “It was probably that start at the Meadowlands as a three-year-old when he was second to Armbro Goal that I thought I might have something that was going to be a little more than I expected.”

No Sex Please continued to exceed expectations and provide his trainer with an extensive highlight reel. In addition to his two Breeders Crown titles, the Ontario Sires Stakes graduate won three editions of the Maple Leaf Trot. He was a three-time CTA/O’Brien Award winner in 1987, 1989 and 1990.

“There were so many races and they weren’t all wins. There was times when he was second that I was just as proud of him,” said Waples Jr., recalling a gritty showing while facing the who’s who of open horses as a sophomore from the 10-hole in the March Of Dimes at Garden State Park and a later runner-up finish to Reve D’Udon in the 1-1/4 mile International Trot at Yonkers after being interfered with early in the race. “He’s always done well by me.”

Often praised for his excellent management of No Sex Please in choosing to geld him, giving him breaks at the right times through the racing season and supplementing him to open stakes, the humble horseman to this day still deflects credit to the horse.

“I was always happy to see the horse race good because he deserved it,” said Waples Jr. “I never felt I did a good job or anything else, it was just the horse. If the horse was healthy, he would be right there. That’s how I always felt; I just wanted him to be good just for him.

“I didn’t feel any pressure because I bought him [myself] and I didn’t buy him to be that type of horse. I didn’t pay much for him. He was $12,500 or something like that. Well, it was a fair amount of money then, but I had some luck with some other horses. It was about all the money I had though. But no I didn’t feel pressure myself that way.”

Each season Waples would point No Sex Please towards the Su Mac Lad at The Meadowlands as his first big test in February, and after time off, would return for other major stakes. Over the years, he won five legs in total and a final of that series.

“As far as managing him, it was a lot easier then to manage a horse than it is now because really there was only about three or four stakes for aged trotters, that was it. So you really didn’t have to keep him going like they do now. It was a lot easier. These guys now, I don’t know how they do it. They’re trotting in [1]:51 every week, it’s insane now. I don’t know how the hell they do it now.”

No Sex Please retired from racing at the age of eight in 1993 as the richest Canadian-sired horse of all time with more than $1.88-million in purse earnings and a record reading 51-35-19 from 137 starts. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame the same year.

No Sex Please enjoyed his retirement at Waples’s farm in Fergus, Ont. with barn buddies Oaklea Count and Stormont Ablaze. He competed in halter classes at some of the first Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society horse shows in Milton, Ont., earning top honours. The trotter also made special appearances at Legends Day, Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Championships, and anniversary celebrations for Dufferin County, where he was bred, foaled and raised by Earl Lennox.

No Sex Please remained in good health until he passed away from a structure colic in the summer of 2011 at age 26.

“He was just a good old boy and I miss him,” said Waples Jr.

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