The undefeated National Debt will no doubt get the bulk of attention from the betting public on Saturday evening when he contests the lone division of The Diplomat Series at Woodbine Racetrack.
The son of Allamerican Native-Our Inheritance remains a perfect six-for-six in his career and is fresh off an eye-catching 1:50.3 winning effort in the $60,500 Buddy Gilmour Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack on March 8.
The career winner of $60,750 in earnings recently shipped north to Canada from the U.S. and into the care of veteran conditioner Bob Young from previous trainer Ron Coyne.
"I've had him roughly a month today (Wednesday)," Young said. "He's trained once at Woodbine and schooled twice and it's all systems go for Saturday. He's had a really good month and settled in well."
The youngster was a $17,000 yearling purchase for Kelly Hoerdt and Blair and Erna Corbeil of Edmonton.
After going a perfect four-for-four last year in Alberta, Hoerdt and Corbeil elected to send their stable star to Coyne in New Jersey at the start of this season to prepare for the Buddy Gilmour Memorial Series at the Meadowlands.
Prior to the series sweep, Jerry and Theresa Silva joined the ownership group in a private purchase.
After his impressive victory in the final, National Debt was then sent to Young in Ontario to prepare for The Diplomat Series before aiming for the North America Cup. He has been ranked ninth in Trot Magazine's 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book, at odds of 18-1.
Although National Debt will make his first appearance on Ontario soil, it isn't the first time Young has laid eyes on the bay.
"I saw him as a yearling after he was bought because he shipped to Mohawk then onto Edmonton to Kelly and Blair's," Young said. "I thought he looked a lot like his brother, Grin For Money ($476,632 - 1:49.4), but was a taller horse with more leg. Same type of head and stood well and very well built like his brother."
After getting acquainted with the speedy pacer over this past month, Young admits that he likes what he sees in the North America Cup prospect.
"He's very easy on himself and looked after himself very well," he said. "I wanted to train him this morning at 9 a.m., but he was sleeping so we waited for him to get up. That's just the type of horse he is. He's very laid back.
"He gets over the ground very easy; he has a great attitude and is versatile," Young continued. "He doesn't need to be put on the front; he tracks cover really well and has a great kick to him."
With the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup less than two months away, Young certainly has the June 14 date marked on his calendar.
"It's a very exciting time of the year," Young said. "Piece Of The Rock was third in the North America Cup out of the 10-hole at 98-1 [in the 2010 edition], so it just goes to show anything can happen in a race and that was a thrilling moment. To have a top horse like National Debt in the barn is really something special. All we can do is take it week by week and do our best to make sure he's at his best.
"It said a lot about him when he won the Gilmour in [1:]50," Young continued. "The question remains if he can go in [1:]47 or [1:]48 and be an elite three-year-old. We know he can go in [1:]50 and hopefully there is another two seconds or so in him. Until he does it, we don't know."
Following the North America Cup, National Debt will once again return to the U.S.
"After The Diplomat he doesn't have anything to the Somebeachsomewhere then the North America Cup. After that he'll go back to Ronnie [Coyne] in the U.S. and get ready for more stakes down there."
National Debt will start from Post 7 in the lone $20,000 division of The Diplomat in Race 3 on Saturday evening. Sylvain Filion is scheduled to drive.
First race post time for Woodbine’s Saturday card is 7:25 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the $43,000 final of the Don Mills Series will take place in Race 7.
To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Woodbine, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Woodbine Racetrack.
(With files from WEG)