The countdown to the 2018 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.
At 17-1, Springsteen comes in at #6 in Trot Magazine's 2018 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.
Owned by Allard Racing Inc., Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg and Kapildeo Singh, Springsteen logged a 3-3-1 record from 14 starts as a freshman but notched three wins in five starts after a private purchase in October. Trot Insider caught up with trainer Rene Allard for an update on the stakes-winning son of Rock N Roll Heaven.
Where did he winter?
"He was sent to a turnout farm in Pennsylvania, and then he was shipped down to Florida and has been training here."
When did you start back with him?
"We started jogging around Christmas for about two weeks and then he was sent to Florida."
Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?
"He grew, he's more filled-out...he was a late foal, a June foal, he did great at two but he wasn't all filled-out. This year he's more filled out and looks good that way.
"He was a little bit too hot last year at times, and that made him a bit inconsistent so we opened him up a little bit more in his equipment, and we've been trying to keep him more relaxed. He's been very controllable so far."
He qualified on Tuesday at Pompano in 1:57. Your thoughts on that mile.
"He went really well, Brian Sears was really happy with him. He was nice and relaxed; he's matured very well."
What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?
"I entered him to race at Pompano but the race didn't fill, so he will qualify once more at Pocono in a few weeks.
"After that he's likely going to go to his first stakes race at Yonkers. We're not sure if we're going to go May 12 or May 19."
Will he race in the Somebeachsomewhere before the North America Cup elims?
"We paid him into the race and we're still going to decide. We believe he's better on the bigger tracks; we kept him eligible to a couple of races that conflict because we think he's better on the bigger tracks...we're mostly shooting for Grand Circuit races with him."
What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?
"We hope he's that good that he doesn't race in a lot of the NYSS, we hope he's Grand Circuit. He's going to tell us as we go. We have an 'A' schedule with mainly big races, and hopefully we don't have to go to the 'B' schedule....but he's got a heavy schedule and we're excited about it.
"He's not paid into the Meadowlands Pace or the Little Brown Jug."
At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?
"When he was second in the Metro Pace elimination for Chris Ryder, that's when he really caught my eye. Chris drove him himself and he raced super; he had a big rally home and really liked him that day. I heard about him when he first qualified at Chester...later on in the year when I watched him at Mohawk, he was really, really good."
What's his biggest strength/best attribute?
"His gait. When he goes fast, he just looks tremendous. Going slow, he doesn't look like anything special...but going fast, he stretches his legs way out. And his attitude is great; he's always playing, he thinks it's just a game."
Where does the North America Cup sit on the bucket list of races you've get to win?
"It's definitely one of the races that has been a goal for me to win. Just to race in it would be an honour, but to win it would make it special. The thing about horses, you can do everything you want as far as training them and trying to get them ready for a certain day but unfortunately sometimes they decide when
they're going to be at their best. So our goal as trainer is to get them to peak at the right time, but it's a long season for three-year-olds so we just have to hope that we manage them right. We paid him into every dance but we're not going to go to every dance. The horse is going to tell us."