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Trainer: Cup-Eligible Needs To Relax

Published: May 3, 2018 10:10 am ET

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Eligibles to the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup have been coming out of the woodwork as of late. The trainer of Closing Statement is hoping that his Cup-eligible Somebeachsomewhere colt can race within himself this Saturday (May 5) in what will be his 2018 pari-mutuel debut.

He didn’t reach the championship leg of last year’s Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, but Closing Statement figures to have a lot to say this Saturday at the Meadows when the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes kicks off with the Bye Bye Byrd, a $169,288 event for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

The Kentucky Derby Day card will also feature a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stakes event for sophomore colt and gelding pacers; a $15,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 5; and a variety of fan-centered events, including drink and beverage specials, live music and raffles. Special post time Saturday is 11:25 a.m.

Closing Statement won five of his 15 freshman starts and hit the board on ten occasions in his debut campaign. Boasting strong credentials, $286,000 in purses, and a 1:50.4 mark (taken over Hoosier Park), Closing Statement has been assessed as the eleventh pick overall (at odds of 24-1) in Trot Magazine’s 2018 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book (click here). To view the current list of Cup eligibles, click here.

Closing Statement won his PASS consolation early last September, but the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Ideal Newton really started to shine in late-season stakes, as he finished third in the Breeders Crown final and second in the Matron Stakes while amassing a $286,281 bankroll. Joe Holloway, who trains the $125,000 yearling acquisition for Val D’Or Farms, Rojan Stables and Ted Gewertz, indicates that total could have been higher.

“If he learned to relax, he’d be even better,” Holloway says. “He’s high strung, and I probably raced him one too many times. Those 15 starts last year are more than I’d like for a two-year-old.

“He’s eligible for all the big ones, but he won’t be able to go with them if he’s still so high strung. Saturday will be the first step to tell me which way I’m going with him.”

Closing Statement, pictured winning his July 22, 2017 PASS split at the Meadows (Chris Gooden Photo)

Closing Statement prepped for his PASS debut with a pair of qualifiers that couldn’t have been more different.

“He was a little hot the first time (a 1:52.1 mile),” Holloway says, “so we just took him off the gate and sat in with him the second qualifier (he paced his mile in 1:54.4.). That’s obviously not the way you want to race. He trained well this week, and he’ll be going forward from the gate. He’s up to going where he has to.”

Closing Statement sold as Ian Hanover, but Holloway says there’s no particular significance to his current name.

“Marty Granoff (of Val D’Or Farms) likes to change names. I think he’d like to change my name. I don’t worry too much about names. I once thought the worst name I ever heard for a colt was Jennas Beach Boy. By the end of his career, I thought his name sounded okay.”

Closing Statement will start from Post 3 in Race 8 with Corey Callahan aboard.

(With files from the Meadows)

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