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Auciello Eager For Action

Published: April 25, 2020 5:09 pm ET

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If you ask trainer Carmen Auciello about what he misses most about harness racing during the current shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's a pretty simple answer. And an all-encompassing one, at that.

"Obviously it's my passion, my livelihood. I miss the competition and the thrill and all that but just everything right now," Auciello recently told Woodbine Entertainment. "And there's nothing to do. If I had just lost racing, but we still had hockey and baseball and all that it wouldn't be so bad. When you take away it all it's almost like you're a prisoner in your own home."

The Auciello stable posted career best numbers in 2019 with 191 wins and more than $3.6 million in earnings. When Canadian harness racing was suspended, the Stouffville, Ont.-based conditioner was second in Canada in seasonal earnings ($717,379) and third in wins (38).

Auciello presently has close to 80 horses in training split over two locations, with 40 racehorses ready to rock once harness racing can resume.

"We didn't want to give too much time off. I think nobody really knows when we're going to start back, I think that's the toughest thing. If we had a target date it would make things a lot easier but we kind of gave them a couple of easy weeks and now they're back in full training, you know, going one fast mile once a week almost as if they're racing every week just to keep them in shape so that when we do get the green light they're going to be ready to go."

Two of Auciello's pupils -- older pacer Points North and trotter On The Ropes -- were among Canada's top 10 money-earning horses when racing was suspended. A winner of multiple stakes as a two-year-old in 2017, Points North had just paced to a lifetime best 1:50.2 mark for Auciello on March 14 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Racing was paused at Mohawk after the March 19 card.

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