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The Return Of The Glamour Boys

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Published: February 28, 2009 9:52 pm ET

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Last year’s crop of two-year-old pacing colts saw the likes of Nebupanezzar, Major In Art, Well Said, Dial Or Nodial and Art Colony earn accolades for their serious seasons. With their stakes-filled sophomore campaigns in sight, this group of glamour boys are heading back to work.

Nebupanezzar

Top Canadian colt Nebupanezzar spent the winter in Lexington and returned in great shape to McIntosh’s farm during the last week of January.

“First off, I think it’s very important that they change from two to three. You want them to change in order to make the transition to the next level,” McIntosh told Woodbine Entertainment’s Ken Middleton. “Physically, he did grow about three or four inches in height and he filled out some. Mentally, he’s a good-feeling colt. He’s always been that way. I found he really matured over the course of last year’s campaign.”

A campaign that earned him top honours as Canada’s Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. The son of No Pan Intended – Western Wonder recorded 10 wins and two seconds in 14 starts earning over $1 million during his debut season for the Peter Pan Stables of Pepper Pike, Ohio. Nebupanezzar claimed the Governors Cup title in a career best 1:51.2 clocking, was the runner-up in the Metro Pace and finished off the year sitting atop the Ontario Sires Stakes standings. Is there anything this top colt could have improved upon?

“I don’t think so, really. He was a bit hot last year, but we put him an open bridle on him and Steve [driver Steve Condren] did a good job with him,” said McIntosh. “After the OSS race in London before the Super Final, Steve and I talked about putting the blind bridle back on before the Super Final and he snapped right back. He seemed to get focused again. He was fresh as a daisy when we put him away, and I really feel that is important with two-year-olds. It seems if you don’t squeeze the lemon dry, they come back better the next year.”

“He’s jogging six miles a day right now and we’re brushing him a little bit. I like to put a lot of foundation into them; it’s a very gradual thing with my horses. Next week we’ll start going miles in 2:45 with them. It takes me about four months to get a horse ready. A lot of people can do it in three, but I like to do it in four.”

McIntosh, an O’Brien Award winner himself, said he is aiming to qualify Nebupanezzar in early June but he’s the type of colt that may take two or three qualifiers to get set up.

“One thing owner Bob Glazer and I talked about was skipping the Burlington and the North America Cup,” said McIntosh. “A lot of horses come into those races fiddle string tight, and it would be too difficult to put him in at that point with those types of colts. So he’s not going into those two races. He’s heavily staked, and we’ll aim for the Little Brown Jug and the Confederation Cup and some of those races later in the year. Of course, he also has the Ontario Sires Stakes program. We kind of tossed around the Burlington and the North America Cup but we thought it would be too much to ask of him. I didn’t want to jeopardize his year by asking him to do too much too early. It’s hard to be good early and be good late.”

Major In Art

The son of Art Major – Miami Spice is bigger than ever and ready to intimidate his sophomore rivals.

“He’s a lot bigger; he was a big horse last year but he’s bigger now,” co-owner Tina Martinez told Woodbine’s Ken Middleton. “He filled out nicely and grew up. He’s a very impressive horse when you’re standing next to him. He’s really intimidating; he’s that impressive.”

Last year, Major In Art recorded six wins in 10 starts including the Woodrow Wilson - where he took his mark of 1:50.4 - and the Metro Pace earning nearly $900,000 for the Major In Art Stable of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

“The horse was jogged for about 10 days after he was done racing last year to let him down slow,” said Martinez. “From there, he was sent to Olive Branch – a turn out farm in Monroe, North Carolina. He was there for two months. On February 14 he shipped to Florida to join Noel Daley at the Sunshine Meadows Training Centre. We’re going down next week to see him.”

“They’re just jogging him right now. I think Noel plans on coming back to New Jersey sometime in early April.”

Formerly trained by Justin Lebo, the connections of Major In Art made the difficult decision of moving him into Daley’s care for his sophomore year.

“Justin [former trainer Justin Lebo] was on the fence about whether he wanted to train horses or do something else. The toughest thing I had to do was call Chester [co-owner Chester Lebo] and tell him I wanted to do something different. We all agreed that this is World Series time and you don’t get many chances to have a horse like this, so it’s in the best interest of the horse that we decided to go with Noel. Everybody is excited about this year. I had a conversation with Brian Sears, and he told me that he thought this horse had the potential to be every bit as good as Rocknroll Hanover was.”

When asked if any equipment changes will be made, Martinez said, “I’m sure he’ll get a little more hopple, but nothing else that I’m aware of.”

Major In Art, who will likely qualify in May, has an action-packed first month of racing ahead of him.

“I think we’re going to point for the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace. It will all be based on how the horse qualifies and comes back. You can throw in two or three great qualifiers, but then have a setback – so we’ll just play our cards as they fall. There are some nice horses out there this year, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of this colt yet. When you’re a two-year-old, talent and pedigree will get you a lot of notoriety but when it comes to being a three-year-old its all about who can take a punch. If you don’t have the scope and size in you, you won’t have much to talk about. This colt has the confirmation, the size, the scope and the pedigree – they’d better bring their lunch if they want to go with him. He’s the horse you dream of having.”

Well Said

Last year’s Breeders Crown winner Well Said is back at it and his connections are currently in the midst of working out his sophomore schedule.

“We haven’t committed to anything as of yet,” trainer Steve Elliot told Woodbine’s Ken Middleton. “I’m sure Mr. Snyder [co-owner Jeff Snyder] has him double staked to a bunch of the major races. I’m going to sit down in the next week or so and start hammering out a schedule for him. We’ve got 35 head right now, and it’s hard to keep on top of them all.”

Elliot says the son of Western Hanover – Must See spent some of the winter at a farm by Mohawk Racetrack then shipped to Florida. From there he spent another month in the paddock with Elliot at the Spring Garden Ranch in De Leon Springs before he resumed jogging.

“He jogs four to five miles a day, and I’ve only been some slow training trips with him so far,” said Elliot.

“I’ll shoot for sometime in May for his first qualifier. We’re going to head back to New Jersey in April, and we’ll finish off his prep work in New Jersey. I’m not sure if I’ll qualify him in New Jersey or Canada. We’ll make that decision later on.”

Elliot notes that the winner of four races and $601,127 has grown up over the winter months, “He was a good-looking colt last year and had some growing to do. He filled out and got a bit taller.”

When asked if there was anything Well Said needed to improve at Elliot said, “He’s always had trouble with his feet, but it’s nothing major. We’ve really worked on him this year and kept on top of his feet. They all get growing pains from two to three, but it‘s hard when they’re still growing and you’re still trying to race them. I guess we’re in the same boat as everyone else in that regard.”

As far as equipment changes go, Elliot said, “I let his hopples out seven holes from what they were last year. Last year he raced in a Kant-See-Back bridle, but I’ve been training him down with a blind bridle since he’s come back. Other than that, nothing has changed. He doesn’t wear any boots.”

Dial Or Nodial

A winner of eight races in 12 starts and $429,740, Dial Or Nodial is back in training and conditioner Jim Campbell is hoping for a little more luck this year.

“He did everything we asked of him last year,” Campbell told Woodbine’s Ken Middleton. “He finished up on a good note at the end of the year, I just wish he could have had a bit more racing luck and a better trip in the final of the Breeders Crown. He’s just a real nice horse to be around. I hope he comes back with the same type of attitude this year. I couldn’t have asked more from him last year.”

Campbell says Dial Or Nodial was turned out at Fashion Farms in New Hope, Pennsylvania for the winter and returned the first week of January.

“He’s grown up and filled out since last year. He really came back looking good.”

“I’m getting some miles into him right now, and he’s training twice a week. He hasn’t been any real speed as of yet, though.”

When asked if any changes have been made to his equipment Campbell said, “I let his hopples out a little bit, but I pretty much do that with all of them. To be quite honest, he doesn’t wear a lot of equipment.”

The son of Western Ideal – Smart Dialing, who is owned by Arlene and Jules Siegel of New Hope, Pennsylvania, will qualify sometime at the beginning of May.

“In an ideal world he has the option of a New Jersey Sires Stake leg to start the year. His first major race will be the New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands. What he does from that point on will depend on how he does in the New Jersey Classic. He’s been staked up nearly everything, so we have plenty of options.”

Art Colony

The Artsplace – Asleep Onthe Beach colt, who stayed at Darlene Hayes’ Long Lane Farms in Cambridge this winter, returned to action on February 1.

When asked how Art Colony has changed trainer Casie Coleman told Woodbine’s Ken Middleton, “He always was a big colt, but he filled out and grew up more. He just really filled out a lot - he’s a big boy. And he’s got quite a personality, he’s still a handful.”

“He’s back to jogging five miles a day. I went a couple of slow training trips with him on February 25. I went a trip in 2:35 with him, and I’ll keep going some slow trips with him for a while.”

Coleman says she hasn’t decided when he will qualify but is aiming for early to mid-May.

“The North America Cup is a bit later this year, and that is the race I want to point him to. I have some options before that.”

Coleman described what Art Colony’s first month of racing will look like, “I’ll put two qualifiers under him for sure, and then he’s eligible to some NJSS divisions and the final. From there he can either go to the New Jersey Classic or come back to Canada for the Burlington Stakes. That should be a good set up for him to go into the North America Cup. As for shipping him to New Jersey to start the year, I’m considering that approach because he is a colt that ships pretty good, so that’s why I wouldn’t hesitate to ship him to the Meadowlands. He ships well, but sometimes it takes him a while to get on the trailer. That’s one of his little quirks.”

When asked about equipment changes for this year, Coleman said she let his hopples out a couple of inches and took the knee boots and Murphy blind off him.

“He had a tendency of bearing out a bit last year, but he hasn’t show that this year. I just had the knee boots on last year for protection more than anything.”

Never finishing worse than second in seven outings, the runner-up in the 2008 Governor’s Cup and the Breeder’s Crown earned $423,750 for owner Tom Hill of Lancashire, Great Britain.

“There was nothing major he needed to improve on, he did everything I expected of him last year,” said Coleman. “I didn’t start with him until late last year, and I wish I had more conditioning in him last year for those big races. He’s a pretty versatile colt – he can do whatever you ask him to do.”

(With files from WEG)


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