The Experimental Ratings for three-year-old pacers, devised by Stan Bergstein, seek to predict the fastest performers for the upcoming season. O'Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner Big Jim got the top spot in the rankings, followed by Feel Like A Fool, Shadyshark Hanover, Fashion Delight and Big Bad John.
Checking in at No. 25, the final spot
on the list, is Flight Elal. The gelding, bred and owned by Ohio’s Pacey Mindlin and Ken Cohen, won five of 10 races last year and earned $235,875 while competing primarily on the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit. A son of Panspacificflight-Lady With A Tan, he won the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes summer championship and was second in the $200,000 sire stakes fall final. He hit the board in all his 2010 races.
“He’s acting like he’s coming back a lot stronger than he was last year,” said trainer Jim “Bill” Dailey. “He’s a very good Indiana-bred; past that, I can’t say what he is. He’s just a big, nice horse. He’s got a lot of moves in him, which is what makes him so good for Indiana. A lot of those colts didn’t have two or three moves in them, and he did. He was very usable. This colt will do well there, I think, barring any problems.”
Dailey said he expects to focus on the Indiana Sire Stakes again, but could send Flight Elal into open company in stakes like the Hoosier Cup and American-National.
“The money is better there [in the Indiana Sire Stakes] than in a lot of stakes,” said Dailey. “We want to make sure we have a chance to get that.”
Dailey hopes to have Flight Elal ready to go when the sire stakes series begins May 6 at Hoosier Park, but is not in a rush.
“If we don’t make that one, we’re not terribly concerned about it,” he said. “With the weather the way it’s been, I’m not sure he’s going to be quite ready. We’re just going to go accordingly.”
Last year, Dailey drove Flight Elal in most of his starts, but turned over the lines to Dave Palone in the two big sire stakes events.
“I think he’s capable of beating quality horses,” said Dailey. “Palone thought so. He’s driven those kinds of horses, so he has a better idea about it than I do. He knows what it takes.”
Flight Elal’s family includes 1963 Cane Pace winner Meadow Skipper and Canadian Hall of Famer Countess Adios. However, Flight Elal did not show much potential while training early last year.
“He’s quite a talented animal, but you’d never think it training,” Dailey said. “He’s not a very good training horse. There’s nothing special about him until you race him. [Early in 2010] I thought he was my fourth-best colt. Once I raced him a few times, I thought differently.
“Last year he wasn’t much to look at. There was nothing exceptional about him. But he wintered well and he’s got some presence to him now. I thought he was going to make a much better three-year-old than two-year-old. We’ll find out by this time next year whether I was right or not.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.