Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book #6

Published: April 7, 2014 09:14 am EDT

"He's quick. I think, more than anything, he just loves his work. When he's on a helmet and you tip him out, there's nothing stopping him. It doesn't matter who's on the front end; he's going to try to get by."

Western Vintage was the betting favourite in every start after his 1:52.4 maiden-breaking victory in his pari-mutuel debut. The son of Western Ideal won five of his eight freshman outings, including an impressive 1:49.4 score at The Red Mile.

At 14-1, Western Vintage comes in at #6 in Trot Magazine's 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book. Trainer Nancy Johansson provided Trot Insider with an update on the colt that added Canadian ownership late in the season.

Where did he winter after the Governor's Cup?

"He stayed right here on a farm in New Jersey, at East Coast Equine Farm. Right after his last qualifier there, he was turned out."

It looked as though the horse was going to race in the Governor's Cup with those two late-season qualifiers, but he didn't make another start. What happened there?

"That was the plan, he beat the eventual winner of the Governor's Cup in his qualifier but he scoped sick after the qualifier and we didn't want to take any chances at the point. We didn't know if there was going to be an elimination or not so we just decided to shut him down for the year."

How long was he turned out?

"He was turned out until the first week of January."

Where are you at with him right now?

"He's going to go a fast mile on Saturday (April 5) around 2:00 with a little faster last half."

Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?

"I think he grew up a lot, he filled out quite a bit. He got taller, which is nice. He's definitely more mature mentally...he was a little bit of a wildman last year and I think he's settled down this year. That's always a good thing. Obviously the three-year-old season's going to be tough on him with a lot of travelling but he seems like he's settled nicely and grown up and matured. He's still very happy; he gives you quite a show when he gets on the track, jumping around and bucking and raring up...nothing mean, just happy to do his work."

When will he qualify?

"The plan is to qualify him on April 26 and get him ready for the New Jersey Sire Stakes, with the first leg on May 17. I would like to have two qualifiers into him before that race on the 17th."

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

"Just the New Jersey Sire Stakes. It's a little bit of a tough schedule because the Sire Stakes have the two legs and the Final, and the week after is the elimination for the North America Cup so I'm hoping we can do well in the first leg so we can skip the second leg. That would be my ideal plan but it's horse racing so anything can happen."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the NA Cup?

"We don't want to look too far in advance but our first goal in the North America Cup and then he's staked to everything, but we'll have to let him dictate a little bit too. We have a lot of options. The Jug is one of the main places on the schedule we'd like to see him go. He's got good gate speed and he's always paced well around the turns so I think he'd actually do pretty good in Delaware."

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