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San Pail: Horse Of The Year?


Published: October 28, 2011 10:27 am ET

Last Comment: October 28, 2011 5:08 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Win or lose in Saturday's Breeders Crown, the trainer and co-owner of trotting superstar San Pail feels his horse has already cemented his place as this year's top standardbred in North America.

A relaxed Rod Hughes was all smiles at Tuesday's Breeders Crown post draw at WEGZ Stadium Bar, answering questions from the media and not letting the pressure of his Crown debut get to him.

Owned by Hughes with Glenn Van Camp of Port Perry, Ont., San Pail drew Post 2 in the $600,000 Open Trot, while his European counterparts Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel drew Posts 3 and 5 respectively.

"I think the two will work out. It's nice to have all the European horses to our right," stated Hughes to Trot Insider after the draw. "I think that will give Randy [driver Randy Waples] the opportunity to see where everybody floats off the gate, pick his spot and work out the trip from there."

While the European invaders haven't made starts in the last month, San Pail tuned up for his first Breeders Crown tilt with a 1:55 win at Woodbine Racetrack in an Open Handicap Trot. Hughes came extremely close to not racing his prized pupil that night as horses faced such a headwind in the stretch that the track assessed a three-second variant.

"That was a huge effort. I almost scratched him that night the wind was so bad, I didn't really want to race him in that wind," offered Hughes. "But, on the other hand I didn't think there would be a prep so I had to wait it out, asked Randy to take it as easy as possible on him. He got the win and he was good and strong doing it so I was happy."

While international media paid visits to Hughes' farm in Dunsford, Ont. throughout the week, San Pail himself would be preparing for the week with much less pomp and circumstance.

"He trained a little bit on Saturday, had him at the vet's on Monday and everything checked out alright," noted Hughes. "We're just going to give him a nice light week and hopefully go into this fresh."

Saturday's start will mark the 16th of the campaign for San Pail, and if all goes well on Saturday night Hughes won't shut him down just yet.

"This will be his last big start of the year. Hopefully he comes out of this OK and maybe we'll give him a couple weeks off but I wouldn't mind racing him a couple more times depending on whether there's a class for him at Woodbine before we shut him down for the Winter."

Many divisional championships will be decided on Saturday night as, as the tagline goes, it all comes down to the Breeders Crown. Traditional logic would have San Pail garner divisional honours both in the United States and at home. According to Hughes, the race for Horse of the Year honours should be just as clear. When asked if a win on Saturday would solidify a Horse of the Year title, Hughes feels he's already won.

"I would hope so. I would hope that even without this start that he would deserve that recognition. He's had a great year and I can't remember another horse as of late having this big a year so I hope he gets the awards he deserves."

All 12 of the 2011 Breeders Crown finals will take centre stage this Saturday (October 29) at Woodbine Racetrack in suburban Toronto. The program will feature a special first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. (ET).

With more than $6 million in purses money on the line, the racing program will mark the first time in Canada that all 12 of the Breeders Crown championships will be contested on the same card. The Score will be broadcasting the evening live, coast-to-coast in Canada. The broadcast will begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until 11:15 p.m.

To view the entries for Woodbine's Breeders Crown program, click here. To access a free printable program for Breeders Crown Night courtesy of TrackIT, click here.

October 28, 2011 - 5:08 pmWHAT A BEAUTIFUL HEAD SHOT



October 28, 2011 - 11:11 amGo Pail Go.

Devin Brown SAID...

Go Pail Go.

October 28, 2011 - 10:51 amI will try to see the

I will try to see the Breeder Crown and the free for all trotters. But I do not understand why the 2 European champions arrived the day before the race. If they win, I would be surprised. I consider them the two best trotters in the world but everything is against them.

I am the only Canadian owner who won 2 trotting races at Paris Vincenne and I had lot of luck with the french trotters that were imported. We were not racing them before a minimum of 30 days after their arrival.

Commander Crow is by a stallion owned by Jean-Piere Dubois of Dream With Me Stable, Granview Ontario. He has 4 white legs.

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