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Another Top Trotter For Toscano

Published: May 21, 2013 8:58 pm ET

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Raven Victory failed to win his first start this season, but the three-year-old colt trotter showed he could see plenty of triumphs in his future.

If that’s the case, trainer Linda Toscano won’t look this gift horse in the mouth.

A son of stallion Andover Hall out of the multiple-stakes-winning mare Winkys Goal, Raven Victory finished second by a half-length to Cajole Hanover in 1:53.3 on May 17 at Meadowlands Racetrack. He trotted his final quarter-mile in :26.3, making up four lengths during that stretch.

Toscano took over the training of the horse this year for owner Maurizio Biasuzzi. The colt competes Friday in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows, near Pittsburgh.

Last season under the care of trainer Kenneth Oscarsson, Raven Victory won three of four starts – all at Lexington’s Red Mile – and earned $8,350. In his only loss, he was leading before finishing third with broken equipment.

“I had nothing to do with this horse whatsoever,” Toscano said. “We’ve been fiddling with him, but he’s certainly got a little bit of ability. He’s got a great attitude.”

Toscano trained last year’s Horse of the Year in trotter Chapter Seven as well as the runner-up in the voting, Hambletonian winner Market Share. Raven Victory is staked to most of this season’s major races, including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown, Colonial and Matron.

“That would be fun if we’ve got something that can play with the big boys again,” Toscano said. “Especially when you’re not expecting anything like that.”

Raven Victory prepped for his first start this year with two qualifiers at the Meadowlands. He went off stride in the first and won the second in 1:56.2 with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines.

“They sent him up the way he was shod in Florida and I knew in my heart he wasn’t going to handle the track in those shoes,” Toscano said about the first qualifier. “I took my chances and he was awful. He was bad going the whole way. So I changed his shoes and he’s much happier. He was really good in the (second) qualifier and even better in the race.”

In his seasonal debut, Raven Victory was third throughout the mile before finishing a fast-closing second.

“He was good and I think Timmy was pretty careful with him,” Toscano said. “He did it all on his own. I’m happy with him. I expected him to be good in that field, but if you would’ve told me (1):53 before the race I’d have said you’re nuts. I didn’t expect that. I thought he could be competitive.”

Toscano said she wasn’t getting too excited by Raven Victory’s fast time in his opener.

“They just go fast,” she said. “I almost think you have to throw times out. I know they’re relevant and important, but I think you almost have to throw them out. Horses go what they have to go. It’s amazing. It’s kind of getting to be like the Olympics; if you win an Olympic race you’ve set a world record. It’s just the way it is.

“I think the horses are getting more refined. I think their bones are getting longer and their heads are getting prettier and they’re starting to look more and more like Thoroughbreds and they’re starting to go faster and faster all the time because of it.”

If there is one thing Toscano would like to see from Raven Victory in the future it is a more relaxed demeanor at the racetrack.

“He’s a little bit nervous and a little bit high strung,” Toscano said. “If I could get him to relax I think we could get him to channel his energies towards racing. I think he wants to take on the world too quickly.

“I need him to have a little yoga in his life,” she added with a laugh.

Raven Victory starts his eight-horse sire stakes race from post five and is the 3-1 favourite on the morning line. The field includes stakes-winners Punxsutawney and Boffin.

“My initial thought was not to send him to The Meadows, but after the way he raced the other day I thought we should take a shot,” Toscano said. “There are some good horses in there. It’s a good group.

“We’re just taking one step at a time,” she added. “We’re building toward bigger races hopefully.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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