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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #8

Published: April 5, 2019 1:01 pm ET

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The countdown to the 2019 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Insider profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

At 18-1, Ontario Sires Stakes star and O'Brien Award finalist Bronx Seelster comes in at #8 in TROT Magazine's 2019 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

A son of Big Jim - Tarport Baccarat, Bronx Seelster was a $22,000 London Selected Yearling Sale purchase that paid off in spades for trainer Wayne McGean and his partners in the Capers 3 Stable. Bronx Seelster scored seven wins and earned in excess of $383,000 from 12 races as a two-year-old. Three of his wins were in Ontario Sires Stakes events and he also swept the Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway. McGean provided Trot Insider with an update on his prized pupil.

Where did he winter and how long was he turned out?

"I had him with me in Cape Breton. I was here [in Ontario] for a few weeks and I was turning him out but he was climbing the gates and I had to stop turning him out up here. One of my partners wanted me to turn him out for a few months somewhere and I said I don't think we should take the chance at it because you'd have to watch him every minute he's out there.

"So I gave him a couple of weeks at home but then I had to start moving him a bit and based on the paddocks available I just kept him going. He might have had three to four weeks rest.

"We tried jogging him a mile and a half a day and that lasted for a little while but he just got more energy so we went up to three miles a day and then back to four miles a day. In January I started turning him slow miles because I wanted to get some miles in him before the track broke up so I decided to come up here and finish him off. I trained him in [2]:20 at home but our track is as hard as the highway so I wanted to bring him up here."

Where are you at with him now?

"I've been here in Ontario for about a month now and the tracks weren't good when I got here. There was a lot of ice around but I've trained him a half-dozen times and I've been in 2:09 with him, just taking my time. Things are good, it's unreal how good he's feeling...he's so full of himself it's not even funny.

Any noticeable changes in him from two to three?

"He looks to me like he grew an awful lot. His hopples are about four and a half inches longer than last year.

"He's just full of himself on the racetrack. He catches horses if he sees them, someone tries to go by him and he doesn't want to let them go....Size-wise and mentally, he's just way ahead of last year. He's ready to go on and drop down a little faster. He wants to go."

When do you plan to qualify him?

"Last week of April, maybe. I don't want to qualify him too soon as there's probably no starts for him anyway."

What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?

"He's got a OSS Gold on the 25th of May, hopefully the Somebeachsomewhere and the [North America Cup] elims."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?

"He made the money so we paid him up into quite a bit...Meadowlands Pace, Breeders Crown which is bittersweet for me as if he makes it I won't be able to be there...My son's getting married that day!" He's also eligible to the Jennas Beach Boy, the Matron and the Progress Pace.

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"His attitude. He's got this fighting attitude and he just doesn't want to give up. He'll go to the end. As a rule, training down, he didn't know where the end of the mile was. He's just a fighter."

At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?

"After he won a couple of times in :51. We had a little meeting after a couple of the races and we kind of looked forward to paying him up into more events like the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace and the Breeders Crown."

Which race of his from 2018 impressed you the most?

"When he won the Champlain and we had the fastest of the three divisions. I was disappointed with the Metro because I was kind of wishing we were in that. But in the Champlain, he showed his strengths there."

What would it mean for you and your group to have a horse qualify for and compete in the North America Cup?

"It's just unreal. I'll tell you, the first meeting after I set this group up, the three of sitting at a table at the racetrack in North Sydney, and stake payments came up. I said 'boys, here's the way it is. If we pay these horses into the Ontario Sires Stakes and the Battle of Waterloo, and if they're good enough they'll make us enough money.' And that's the way it went down. Disappointment a few times thinking about the Metro and whatever, but we didn't get into it for that. We got into it to try to have a nice horse and have some fun....but we got an exceptionally good horse by luck. There's a lot of luck in getting those kinds of horses. And I thought I managed him alright last year. There's never been another horse to come out of Cape Breton Island that's made $384,000 as a two-year-old.

"This is the most I've talked about the horse since his last race. I'm a pessimist, I don't want to get too high, because anything can happen overnight. We saw that with Keystone Concrete. I had a good chat with Rob [Fellows] the other night. I feel so bad for him that it's not even funny. But that's what good horses do, they bring you more friendships. I never knew Rob, I've been back and forth to Ontario for a lot of years but I never got to meet him until one night he's in against me in the next stall. And he's one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet, and his wife [Yolanda] is the same way."

Previous North America Cup Spring Book Profiles:
North America Cup Spring Book - #9
North America Cup Spring Book - #10

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