"The miles he went at Yonkers, we weren't sure because Yonkers is a little deceiving for time because it's a half-mile track. He went some pretty big miles at Yonkers but the eye opener was the mile at Vernon on the bigger racetrack."
The countdown to the 2016 Pepsi North America Cup continues, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.
At 18-1, Travel Playlist is the first of three New York-sired colts in Trot's 2016 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book, coming at #8.
The son of Art Major was a force in New York, setting a Vernon Downs track record of 1:49.2 -- the fastest time in North America for a freshman pacer last season. Originally an $82,000 yearling purchase by Illinois' Ron Michelon, Travel Playlist added Blue Chip Farms, Taylor Made Stallions and All American Harnessbreds to his ownership group following that scintillating NYSS performance. Trot Insider caught up with trainer Erv Miller for an update on the $252,868 winner.
Where did he winter?
"At Southern Oaks Training Center in Florida."
When did you bring him back in to start training?
"We started back with him soon after the first of the year there."
Where are you at with him right now?
"We've been in 2:05 with him."
Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?
"He filled out, he's quite a bit thicker than he was last year. Just looks like an older horse now."
Did you feel the horse needed to add much size from two to three?
"He's not a big horse but he really put on some weight and he just looks good. He's carrying his weight better than he did as a two-year-old."
When will he qualify?
"We won't qualify until May, probably...sometime in May. I'm going to qualify all my three-year-olds up North this year."
What's his early schedule looking like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?
"We're going to let his qualifiers tell us which direction we go, it depends on how he qualifies."
What is he staked to past the North America Cup?
"We've got him in all the major stakes races and the way he's coming back right now it looks like we'll be able to make them."
At what point last year did this horse show you North America Cup-level talent?
"When I started getting down around 2:05 I knew I had a pretty nice horse, you could tell he was going to carry his speed well."
What makes this horse such a great competitor?
"He can do anything: he can leave, he can come from the back...the mile he won in :49 he came first over. That's his biggest asset: he's just versatile."
Any other North America Cup-eligible colts in your stable?
"I've got one Indiana-bred, Mystical Rock, that raced awful good last year...he's eligible. We'll monitor how he qualifies and decide if we want to take a shot in the North America Cup or if we want to go the other way."