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Strategy Change Leads To Success

Published: April 4, 2013 8:38 pm ET

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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and granted seven-year-old pacing mare Warrawee Koine is certainly not a canine, but this year she has employed a new strategy during her race miles that may very well have boosted her performance level.

“She used to be pretty one dimensional,” said Tony O’Sullivan, the mare’s conditioner since last September. “If you look at her lines from even a year or two ago she really liked to be on the front end, but we have been racing her off the pace at Yonkers mainly because when she draws the seven or eight hole, it is hard on her to leave every week.

“One night, she did have one of those holes at Yonkers and when we brought her out she just flew home. That’s when her owner told us she had never done that before and I think it’s actually helped her. She has probably been more consistent and it gives her more options now wherever she happens to draw.”

The daughter of Astreos and the Cambest mare My Gal Hall is owned by Dr. Michael Wilson. She has paced 94 miles with a record of 30-14-11, amassed more than $710,000 in purse money and possesses a speed standard of 1:50s. Unraced at two, Warrawee Koine has been reliable and dependable each year she has competed.

At three, she went to the gate on 23 occasions with a slate of 8-1-2 and she earned more than $150,000 while racing only in Canada. In her four-year-old campaign, which was also only north of the border, she started 11 times with four victories, a second, a third and $61,380 in the bank.

It was as a five-year-old, however, that Warrawee Koine had her best season to date. From 31 miles the mare compiled a record of 11-6-4, collected just shy of $300,000 and established her lifetime mark. Last year at age six, she contested 20 miles with three wins, three seconds, four thirds and $114,300 in purse money.

After spending her entire career in Canada, she made her U.S. debut on Nov. 1, 2012, at Yonkers and except for one start at the Meadowlands has remained at that very same oval.

A half-sister to Warrawee Jane (Real Desire, 1:56.2f, $105,335) and the granddaughter of Mib Hanover, who produced six offspring who accrued more than $200,000, Warrawee Koine posted a world record of 1:51.1 on June 16, 2012, at Flamboro Downs in her Ellamony elimination.

This year, she has raced nine times with four triumphs, three seconds and $83,250 added to her bankroll.

After coming home fifth in the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on March 22, the mare redeemed herself with a dead-heat victory with Royal Cee Cee N in the second leg on March 29.

She is in-to-go for the third leg of the series this Friday (April 5) and will leave from post two in the ninth race on the card at morning line odds of 8-1. Jason Bartlett, who has been her pilot all season, once again will hold the reins.

“We have had her since around September of last year,” said O’Sullivan, a New Zealand native. “She is a sweetheart and is perfect around the barn. She is probably too spoiled and gets lots of apple and carrot treats, but when she goes on the track, she can be aggressive but goes about her business.

“She is just a classy old mare. Every time she steps on the racetrack she gives you everything she’s got and she’s going to make some money. We just look after her and keep her racing in the right spots.”

Although her competition in the series is no walk in the park with other talented mares like Rocklamation, Camille, Ginger And Fred, Handsoffmycookie, Better B Lucky, Darena Hanover, Krispy Apple and Anndrovette, O’Sullivan always thought Warrawee Koine belonged in the Matchmaker.

“Going into this series I thought she was as good as anyone in there and had as much of a chance as anyone else,” he said. “Obviously there are a couple mares in there that are a bit younger than her and may be a bit faster now, but with the right draw she has a couple weapons in her arsenal. I think she can be as good as anyone because she tries every time.”

Once the series concludes, the plans for Warrawee Koine’s future depend upon a visit she made to the Keystone State roughly three weeks ago.

“We actually bred her to Somebeachsomewhere,” O’Sullivan said. “If she catches and is pregnant she will probably race through the middle of May. If not, I’ll just leave her down here and bounce her around between Yonkers, Chester and Pocono.”


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