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Hypnotic Blue Chip, Won The West To Indiana


Published: November 3, 2010 7:10 pm ET

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On Wednesday afternoon, Hypnotic Blue Chip packed up his trunk and headed west, young man. After an overnight stay at The Meadows on Wednesday evening, trainer Kevin McDermott expects to arrive at Indiana Downs in Shelbyville, Indiana, for Saturday’s $125,000 Indiana Pacing Derby with this year’s fastest horse (1:47.2 in a division of the U.S. Pacing Championship on Hambletonian Day, August 7).

Hypnotic Blue Chip (24-7-3-3 this year with $760,605 earned) will start from Post 9 in the field of nine with Dave Palone driving. The field also includes Breeders Crown champion Won The West, who is ranked No. 2 in harness racing’s top 10 poll and is the richest older horse in North America, with $1.29 million in purses.

The four-year-old Hypnotic Blue Chip, who has the world record for any size track for his age, tailed off a bit in his last race, a fourth-place finish in the $500,000 Breeders Crown on October 9 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, says McDermott.

“After the Breeders Crown, I think he was beat up a little bit,” McDermott said. “He was raced out and he bled on me in the Breeders Crown. He was first-time Lasix in a qualifier [won by 10 lengths in 1:50.4 on October 26] the other day. After the Breeders Crown, I went away to Lexington for a week and I didn’t want anyone else to jog him. So we started swimming the horse and I honestly believe, based on his qualifier and his training session, he’s ready to go his best race all year.

“He’s been on the right line a little bit for the last month and a half but even [Hall of Fame driver] Mike Lachance watched him train the other day and just said, ‘Wow.’ He’s better now than he was a month ago. Someone came to take pictures of him the other day and two of us were trying to hold him with a lead shank. He’s got the greatest attitude, that horse. He never has a bad day.”

McDermott said the long season has not affected Hypnotic Blue Chip’s appetite.

“I can tell you,” declared McDermott, “from the day I bought that horse [for owner Fran Azur], he’s never, ever missed an oat. That’s always a sign of a good horse. He probably weighs more now than he did at the start of the season. He’s kept his weight and he’s just a phenomenal horse.

“If the Breeders Crown were this week, I think he’d win. I think he was just beat up. We’ll just try to get him to the gate the right way and see what happens.”

Hypnotic Blue Chip once again has the far outside Post 9 in the Indiana Pacing Derby and McDermott does not think there is any reason to be shy leaving the gate.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “The problem with a race like that is that there’s five Indiana horses there; you can’t put yourself behind the better horses, so you’re going to have to leave somehow from there. Dave Palone is driving him and he knows what he’s doing and we’ll leave it up to him. But I’m very confident the horse is going to race super this week.”

McDermott says that once Hypnotic Blue Chip finishes racing in Indiana, he will keep heading west.

“This was an event to pay into and we had to make a decision because the Gold Cup was at Woodbine [this weekend] and that was an invitational,” he noted. “The reason for that is the American-National [at Balmoral Park, outside Chicago] is next week. Instead of shipping nine hours from Canada, we’re only two hours away in Indiana. I want to win this week, but we’ll make sure that he’s not killed this week and ready to go for $300,000 the following week in the American-National.”

McDermott is looking forward to another year racing Hypnotic Blue Chip, even though there have been multiple stallion inquiries about the horse.

“I told someone the other day, you’re going to see him [racing] when he’s 11,” he laughed. “Fran’s all about racing and all kidding aside, we’ll probably race him his five-year-old year and see what happens.

“But 1,000 per cent, he’s coming back next year. We’ll race him through here and stop with him. He’ll probably have three or four months off by the time he’s back next year to qualify. I’ll let him stay at my house for four to six weeks and then start back with him. He deserves a little break.”

Here is the field in post position order for the Indiana Pacing Derby with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Lis Deo, Joshua Sutton, Charles Stewart
2. Won The West, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke
3. Benns Superman, Dan Shetler, Henry Lunsford
4. Dali, Peter Wrenn, Tony Alagna
5. Bettor Sweet, Peter Wrenn, Thomas Cancelliere
6. Freddyscooter, Trace Tetrick, Steve Brannan
7. Annieswesterncard, Jason Dillander, Joe Seekman
8. Park Lane Deputy, Sam Widger, Nelson Willis
9. Hypnotic Blue Chip, Dave Palone, Kevin McDermott

Saturday’s card also includes the $250,000 Monument Circle for three-year-old male pacers.

Here is the field in post position order with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Morgan Shark, Trace Tetrick, Joe Seekman
2. Piece Of The Rock, Peter Wrenn, Jim Arledge Jr.
3. Power Of A Moment, Dave Palone, Erv Miller
4. Allthatgltrsisgold, Dan Shetler, Bobby Brower
5. Trick Man, Ray Paver, Paver
6. Four Starz Trace, Trace Tetrick, Joe Seekman
7. Perrito Caliente, Trace Tetrick, Joe Seekman
8. Iam Bonasera, Dave Magee, Erv Miller
9. Voomerang, Joshua Sutton, Roger Welch
10. Indescribable, Peter Wrenn, John Butenschoen

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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