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Control The Moment Adds Owners

Published: June 10, 2016 10:44 am ET

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A new group of owners will be watching on Saturday night when O'Brien Award winner and Spring Book favourite Control The Moment competes in his 2016 Pepsi North America Cup elimination.

Trot Insider has learned that Tara Hills Stud Ltd. has acquired a piece of sophomore pacer Control The Moment. Tara Hills' owner David Heffering noted that the horse had been on his radar -- and surely others in the stallion business -- for quite some time. This past spring, a group from Downunder had made a bid to purchase a piece of the pacer and included Tara Hills in on the action. That deal, according to Heffering, fell through for the Downunder partnership but owners Howard Taylor and Brad Maxwell asked Tara Hills and Heffering if they'd still be interested. With the help of some friends and acquaintances, Heffering was able to stay involved.

"I'm very lucky. We got an eclectic group of investors to help raise the money," stated Heffering. "Everybody took a very pragmatic view of this horse we're buying: we're buying a racehorse that's eventually going to be a stallion, and whether he's a stallion at Tara Hills at a certain value, or he's a stallion somewhere else south of the border, we'll wait on that. There are no guarantees and we'll just wait on how things go."

Heffering notes that Tara Hills doesn't have a major ownership share in the horse, just enough to "get everybody involved and have a little fun this year."

There is certainly a different vibe in the air, as this is new territory for Heffering and Tara Hills. Usually they get involved in a horse once his or her racing career has concluded. This time, they'll follow along with Control The Moment's sophomore campaign as active participants. But Heffering is very cognizant and grateful to be in the position to obtain a piece of a horse of this caliber given how dire the situation looked in Ontario just a few years ago.

"Ever since 2012, I've counted my blessings...I've had a lot of support from my owners of all the stallions," Heffering noted. "Everybody could have pulled out of here in 2012 and 2013, and they stayed in and supported me and that's one of the best things that could have ever happened to us is that all our owners believed in what we were doing and the program and stuck it out. I was very lucky."

Howard Taylor noted that he's never met Heffering before, and this is also new territory for him as well as he likes to know and meet his partners. But the group gave Heffering a glowing reference, and that was enough for Taylor.

"He seems like a heck of a nice guy and we're looking forward to hopefully having a lot of fun together," Taylor told Trot Insider. "That's the one thing with me with horses: I like to know my partners and have fun with my partners. He seems like he's that type too. Hopefully we have a lot of fun this summer because he seems like a special horse."

On the track, that's certainly a fair statement from his record. Off the track, it's just as accurate. Both Heffering and Taylor gave the son of Well Said rave reviews on his appearance.

"He's just a specimen," Taylor gushed. "You look at him, you've got to fall in love. He is the most impressive looking horse I've seen, let alone owned. An absolutely gorgeous animal, First time I saw him, I couldn't believe he was a two-year-old...he's just a man among boys."

The deal was finalized this week after Control The Moment's 2016 debut: an impressive second-place finish to Lyons Snyder in his Somebeachsomewhere division. Heffering confirmed that the mile on Saturday helped put the finishing touches on the paperwork.

"That made it work for all of us and we're really happy," said Heffering. "Howard and the group have been more than accommodating and it's worked out well for all of us. I've never done business with any of these gentlemen before but they've shown to be a class act with us to deal with."

Heffering also noted all the Canadian angles with the horse -- breeder, owners, trainer and driver -- gave the deal a "magical" feel to him. But there is nothing right now that says the horse will stand at Canada's Tara Hills Stud Farm in the future. The deal states that Tara Hills will get the first shot at him as a stallion, but there are no guarantees he will have a stud career in Port Perry.

"It will be a learning curve for us," said Heffering. "Some people will think we're crazy for what we're doing but in this day and age the stallion business is a competitive business and you've got to look at different ways of trying to stay alive."

Much like the horse's future as a stallion, Saturday's 2016 Pepsi North America Cup elimination could go in a number of directions. It's arguably the most competitive of the two with a handful of current standouts among the field of nine. Control The Moment sits as the second choice behind Somebeachsomewhere division winner Betting Line (David Miller, PP6, 5-2) while the horse that beat him last week, Lyons Snyder (Sylvain Filion, PP4, 7-2) is listed as the third choice.

"This is a tough, tough race," agreed Taylor. "It seems like every horse in there but one or two is a major horse this year...I've never been that lucky in drawing when I don't get to pick a post so I'm hoping that problem is solved on Saturday."

North America Cup Elimination 1
(Post – Horse – Driver - Odds)
1 – Highlandbeachycove – Scott Zeron - 15-1
2 – Check Six – Yannick Gingras - 4-1
3 – Control The Moment – Randy Waples - 3-1
4 – Lyons Snyder – Sylvain Filion - 7-2
5 – Beast Mode – Trevor Henry - 15-1
6 – Betting Line – David Miller - 5-2
7 – Im Some Graduate – John Campbell - 12-1
8 – Ideal Rocky – Corey Callahan - 8-1
9 – Racing Hill – Brett Miller - 10-1

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.

For a free, printable program for Mohawk’s Saturday card (courtesy of TrackIT), click here.

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