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Teague On Barber Pole, Burlington Starters

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Published: June 11, 2009 1:44 pm ET

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With Mohawk Racetrack's Burlington Stakes just days away and Barber Pole's name noticeably absent from the draw, Trot Insider has spoken with trainer George Teague, Jr. for an update on the division's fastest competitor to date this year.

The Badlands Hanover colt captured that distinction when he rocketed to an open-length victory in 1:49 over the one-mile Meadowlands course on May 9. After doing much of the roadwork in his Hempt elimination at Pocono on May 16, Barber Pole just missed heading to the final after finishing fifth, pacing in 1:52.4. Though the colt didn't win the $500,000 Hoosier Cup on May 30 at Hoosier Park, all things considered, he went a big trip. Barber Pole had started from the trailing Post 12 and came home with a wallop late, eventually finishing fourth, pacing his mile in 1:52.2 and beaten just one length by stablemate Mr Wiggles.

Besides all the background, Trot Insider asked Teague what is the reason was for opting to enter Barber Pole to Yonkers Raceway's rich Art Rooney Pace -- which goes for $421,950 -- instead of the Burlington -- which goes for $100,000 per division Saturday, June 13. Many conditioners use the Burlington as a prep for Mohawk's $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup, which has eliminations (June 20) one week after the Burlington. The NA Cup will be contested June 27 over the Campbellville oval.

Though Teague has entered four Cup-eligible colts to the Burlington, Barber Pole will be going out for the loot at Yonkers Saturday. Seeing as though Teague knows a thing or two about winning NA Cups (Total Truth, 2006), you know his planning is on point.

"With so many stakes options, these types of decisions are always tough," Teague told Trot Insider. "I wanted to spread it around a little bit. I've found that [Barber Pole] is good on any size of track. He went that big mile at the Meadowlands and trains regularly on a seven-eighths. He's versatile that way, so I decided he go to Yonkers for the Rooney." Barber Pole has drawn the outside Post 7. Jordan Stratton will steer the colt, and the duo has been assessed at odds of 6-1 in the morning line.

Looking north of the border, the Teague charges primed to fire over Mohawk Saturday are an impressive bunch. Hoosier Cup champ Mr Wiggles (PP10, C. Callahan, 15-1) has drawn into an absolutely stacked Burlington division (Race 5) with arguably the worst post of all. “Mr Wiggles has done everything we’ve asked him to do," Teague told WEG publicity earlier this week. "He had some trouble breathing early on this year and had a throat operation a couple of months ago, but he bounced back fast from that and he’s 100%.”

The WEG publicity office had also queried Teague about Bunkmeister (PP9, C. Callahan, 7-1) who has also drawn poorly in his Burlington split (Race 11). “He’s (Bunkmeister) got the potential to pick it up," Teague was quoted as saying. "He’s had some bad racing luck, but I think he’s got it in him. Whether we see it on Saturday, I don’t know – he didn’t draw that well so he’s leaving from the nine hole. We’ll see if he answers the call.”

Hempt winner Johnny Z (PP2, J. Moiseyev, 9-2) has also drawn into a tough Burlington division (Race 4), but at least has been given some post relief with the two hole. The colt last raced in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at the Meadows and finished second, pacing in 1:52.3. "He wasn't as sharp as I expected him to be," Teague explained to Trot Insider. "He was first up in there, but it's a long season. He's already shown he can roll with them this year, though."

Coming in from a narrow loss in the Hoosier Cup after starting from the 10 hole, Chasin Racin (PP3, J. Campbell, 7-2) has drawn well in his Burlington test (Race 8). "He's a nice, big horse, but he just takes a little bit to gear up," Teague told Trot Insider. "He was closing hard in the Hoosier Cup, but you also have to remember that Indiana has very strict rules about everything that guys can do when they're in the bike, which don't exactly help getting a lazy horse going."

Click here to view Mohawk's Saturday entries.

(With files from WEG)

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