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Windsong Espoir On The Comeback Trail


Published: February 16, 2009 8:55 am ET

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On the heels of what many would consider a disappointing sophomore campaign, 2007 O'Brien Award winner Windsong Espoir is now back in training for his four-year-old season.

After suffering a foot injury last spring, the son of Kadabra out of Diamond Image was withdrawn from the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold final on September 28 at Mohawk Racetrack and subsequently shut down for the remainder of the season.

Despite facing a possible early retirement, Windsong Espoir bounced back and is ready for his aged campaign.

"He's training very well and I'm really excited that he's coming back good and sound and that his foot is completely healed up," part-owner and breeder Bill Loyens told Trot Insider.

As a freshman, Windsong Espoir recorded nine consecutive wins in 10 starts earning over $700,000 under the care of Brad Maxwell. He won the Bridger Trotting Series, the Champlain Stakes, the William Wellwood Memorial and then enjoyed a productive endeavor in the Ontario Sires Stakes program en route to divisional honours.

Last year, the bay ended his sophomore campaign, surprisingly, without a win, but he did bump his earnings to $759,136 with three second-place efforts.

"Trond Smedshammer is training him at White Birch Training Centre in New Jersey," says the owner of Windsong Acres. "He's very happy with his progress and we staked him up pretty good again.

"He's training very, very well. He'll probably qualify in April and we've got our fingers crossed that he comes back good."

Loyens owns Windsong Espoir with Jerry Vanboekel and Fred Brayford. The trio, who bought out the rest of the partnership, which included Peter Heffering and the Hope Stable, have decided not to breed Windsong Espoir this year. Instead, they will race him lightly in preparation for a trip to Europe at either five or six.

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