World Champion Heads East For Stakes Test

Rumble Strips winning at Delaware County Fair
Published: June 16, 2023 09:58 am EDT

Win, lose or draw in Saturday’s $95,790 Currier & Ives for sophomore male trotters at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, world champion Rumble Strips is guaranteed a new accomplishment — a race outside Ohio.

The son of Long Tom-Lady Glider has banked nearly $350,000 in 13 career starts, and he’ll head the field in one of The Meadows’ oldest and most prestigious stakes, which first was contested in 1975. The Currier & Ives goes as Races 8 and 10, with first post at 12:45 p.m.

Mike Polhamus, who trains Rumble Strips for Constance Polhhamus and Mary Beth Walters, last year staked the youngster throughout the Buckeye State — but nowhere else — after giving $40,000 for him at the Ohio Selected Jug Yearling Sale. All of those 13 starts have been in Ohio.

“I had his full brother, No Edge Lines, who won his first start in 1:57.1,” Polhamus recalled. “We were offered $200,000 for him and turned it down. Sure enough, he cut his knee open shortly thereafter and hasn’t really come back.

“But I loved his brother, and I love this one’s conformation. He’s very good gaited, and he loves his job. After having his brother, I considered him worth the money.”

The trainer’s opinion of Rumble Strips shot way up after he captured the Ohio Sires Stake Championship and took the Ohio Breeders Championship at the Delaware Fair in 1:53.2, the fastest mile ever for a freshman trotter on a half-mile track. Rumble Strips was ready for national competition, but there were no stake supplementing opportunities available.

“He was on a list of the Top 10 candidates to win the Hambletonian, but he’s not eligible, and supplementing isn’t possible,” Polhamus said. “We did supplement to other stakes this year, including the Breeders Crown.”

Rumble Strips leaves from post two in Saturday's 10th race for driver Kayne Kauffman, who’s been aboard for all 13 career starts. Whatever this year may bring the champion, he may have a future in the breeding shed. 

“We had three farms contact us last year and say, ‘If he comes back and does what he should do, we’d be interested in standing him.’ But that’s a ways down the road.”

The Meadows will be completely new to Rumble Strips — and nearly as unfamiliar to Polhamus, who last raced here in the mid-90s when his fast-class pacer, Nardie Jeff, won the Invitational several times. Polhamus maintains a Meadows connection, as Starting Gate Judge Joe Denman is his nephew.

Rumble Strips’ chief competition may come from Hambletonian-eligible Herodotus (PP7, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), who won a May 22 PA All-Stars split and followed that up with a place finish in a PA Sires Stake division at The Meadows.


Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.