Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book #1

Published: April 13, 2014 11:35 am EDT

"He’s just probably the fittest horse you could ever look at and he’s born that way. So anytime I say go, I know he’s ready to go."

After a freshman season comprised of eight stateside starts and eight wins -- two in world record time -- Hes Watching was named the Dan Patch Award-winning two-year-old colt pacer for owner-trainer Dave Menary (Menary Racing Inc.), Brad Gray and Michael Guerriero. After the colt's season was complete, Joe Muscara bought into the colt as well.

At 5-1, Hes Watching comes in at #1 in Trot Magazine's 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book. Dave Menary provided Trot Insider with an update on the son of American Ideal, a $3,000 bargain yearling that's now the early favourite for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

Where was he turned out after his last start at two?

"I was super happy ending the year on a high note. The Night of Champions he smashed the Yonkers track record, which enabled him to finish his year early, which was a good thing. After that start I brought him home here [to Stephenson's Training Centre].

"We polished off the deal bringing the Muscara family in on the partnership. So he jogged down here and he was home here with me and coming out of the year in better shape than he’s ever been in.

"The weekend of the Breeders Crown Final I shipped him down to Pocono where he had a one-day layover and then from there he went on to North Carolina and he was turned out at Olive Branch Farms with Chris Coyle, who did an unbelievable job. I sent all my top two-year-olds down there and this is the first year that I’ve gone south of the border. I’m a really big stick-with-what-works kind of guy and this is the first year that I got off the path and I’m very glad I did. I couldn’t be happier with the way the horse came home."

How long was he turned out?

"They came home January 8 and the day after it was -45 and ever since he’s been home he’s been nothing but perfect.

Where are you at with him right now?

"We had to work around the weather a little bit being in Canada, but I don’t think he minded at all....As of last week, I’ve been in 2:10 in the jogger over the half-mile track with some vicious back-half. I think the weather looks good for tomorrow, I think [Thursday] might be his first time in the race bike."

What’s the tentative schedule for qualifying and when do you see him qualifying for the first time?

"I don’t have a date set in stone. I’m a big play-it-by-ear kind of guy. I know anytime that I say go, he’s ready to go. Dropping is not going to be a problem, conditioning is not going to be a problem. I just want to figure out where we want to be and how we’re going to get there. The North America Cup is the big goal. Heading into that there’s different options. I think he’s going to have to bypass the New York Sire Stake. I paid him into the Rooney and the Somebeachsomewhere.

"My tentative plan, as of now, is to start him in the Rooney to start his year. But at the time if I decide that I want to stay close to home on the big track and not do a lot of shipping, I have the 'Somebeach' as a fallback. But wherever we start him, I think it’s a big stepping stone. Our first major goal is the North America Cup and that’s what we’re aiming for."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the NA Cup?

"I’m hoping to race in the New York Sire Stakes, but he’s eligible to the Rooney, Somebeachsomewhere, North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace, the Empire Series. I bypassed the Milstein, the new stake at Northfield to go to the Empire.

"We’re pretty pumped about the Jug, we’re super pumped about the Jug. And going to Lexington for the Bluegrass. We’re looking forward to the Messenger, the Matron, the Breeders Crown, the Progress and the Cleveland Classic so I think we’re in most of the big dances. We plan to be in there."

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