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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #10

Published: April 8, 2018 3:00 pm ET

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The countdown to the 2018 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

At 22-1, Summer Travel kicks off the countdown, coming at #10 in Trot Magazine's 2018 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

Owned by Casie Coleman's West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol, and Calhoun Racing Ltd., Summer Travel won three of four starts as a freshman and banked just shy of $34,000. Trot Insider caught up with trainer Casie Coleman for an update on the son of Western Ideal.

What happened with Summer Travel after the Metro?

"At the end of his season he was doing tremendous and then he got sick on me. When he got sick it took me a while to get him over it. Thought we had him over it, entered him in the Metro and I wasn't happy with him at all. He wasn't right. We ended up thinking it was soreness, I couldn't figure out what it was. We sent him to a number of vets and no one could figure it out. X-rays, bone scans, name it, we did it.

"We'd only see it at high speed; when he'd go slow, he'd be perfect. It ended up being one of his main issues was EPM. I never really thought he had it, he never showed me the signs of it. But I'm glad it was just something like that ... it's not something you want but it's a lot better than lameness issues or something more complicated. So we've been treating him really heavily for EPM and that's really turned him around. He's trained back great so far so we hope we have that problem nailed down."

Where did he winter and when did you start back with him?

"He wintered in Lexington at Dr. John Cummins' farm and then I brought him to Florida around Christmas. I just jogged him for a little while and he's been training two trips twice a week. We went with him yesterday (March 30) and went 2:02 in the racebike and he did it real easy. I've been really happy with him.

"I'm going to send him a couple more fast trips at the farm and he'll be ready to qualify right when we get him home, about 10 days after we get home so that's a qualifier around [April] long as he ships good as comes out of it healthy."

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

"He never was the biggest colt but he has grown quite a bit. He's really filled out; before he was just kind of plain...not a real muscular horse and now he's got a lot of muscle. Again, I think that's due to the he's really muscled up, has got a great big ass on him, big shoulder ...I'm not even sure how much I've let out his equipment but I know I've let out his equipment quite a bit. Last year he would get running in quite a bit but I have no poles on him so far and he's not showing me that he needs anything."

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

"He'll qualify twice, and I'd like a start or two before the Somebeachsomewhere. He has a May 5th PASS, I definitely won't go to that but there's another one at the end of May that kind of does fit into his schedule. I may ship him to that one, then bring him back.

"I might just leave him at home too and race him in a couple of overnight races. I haven't 100 percent decided how I'm going to do that yet."

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

"He's fully staked to everything all summer so he'll be sticking to his stakes schedule as long as he's good enough."

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"How fast he is off a helmet, and how calm he is too. If anything, he's on the lazy side. He's not hot at all. He's one of those horses when he's in a hole, you almost don't think you have anything. He just does his thing and plods along but as soon as you hit the right line and tell him it's go time, he can switch gears so fast it's scary. A lot of people don't even realize how quick he's going."

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

"The whole way training down he showed a lot of talent but he really started to show when we got him home, got him in the racebike and qualified him...that's when he started turning some heads. We knew how good he was but I wasn't expecting him to be as good as he was right from the start."

Any three-year-old stablemates in the barn right now that are paid up and also looking promising?

"We're taking a bit of a longshot with Western Passage. He won the OSS Super Final last year. He's a nice colt and he's training back really good, I'm very happy with the way he's training back. Saying that we're probably shooting for the stars a bit too much thinking NA Cup but we decided we're going to leave him paid in and see what he shows us as the season starts up.

"He has a Gold at Flamboro on May 20. I'll go to the Somebeachsomewhere with him, probably, and we'll make our mind up from how he does in there to see if we do go onto the Cup...we'll let him tell us when the time comes."

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