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Budd Harnessing Another Champion?

Published: June 23, 2011 2:57 pm ET

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Trainer Bill Budd has certainly been successful in the past conditioning young stock, including big-name pacers Sir Luck and Boulder Creek, who made their presence felt in the Ontario Sires Stakes program and Grand Circuit. Now, he’s hoping Astor can follow in their hoofsteps.

It was in the early 2000s when Budd campaigned Sir Luck to over $1.2 million with victories in the $1.1 million Metro Pace and pair of $130,000 OSS Gold finals for driver Mike Saftic. That same year, Sir Luck’s stablemate, Boulder Creek, captured the $300,000 OSS Super Final, $106,297 Champlain and a pair of $130,000 OSS Gold finals before retiring with over $3.8 million.

Now, almost a decade later, Budd is hoping Astor can duplicate the success of that dynamic duo, with his first stakes event coming this Monday at Mohawk Racetrack in his $40,000 OSS Gold elimination.

Like Sir Luck, Astor is a son of Camluck who was a $47,000 yearling purchase at the Canadian Yearling Sale for Mark Hanover’s Enviro Stables.

“He was just a magnificent yearling,” Budd commented. “His conformation was what really attracted me and his family was deep, plus he’s a Camluck.”

Budd remained confident in the youngster as Astor was training down this past winter for his freshman campaign.

“He’s one of those horses who wants to please you, he does everything right and you swore he was a five-year-old by his manners," said Budd. "He is my only two-year-old, so he trained down by himself last winter then eventually started training with racehorses and he had no problems with that.”

In his first lifetime start, Astor scored a gate-to-wire score in an eye-catching 1:54 with a :27.3 final quarter.

“He was touching the bike, that’s why he fired to the lead so quickly,” Budd said. “Mike (driver Saftic) did a great job to get him to relax when he was on the lead. I wasn’t shocked when I saw the 1:54 mile.”

It’s still early in the season, but Budd remains optimistic that Astor could be a top threat in this year’s provincial program.

“Touch wood,” he laughed. “I think he’s got enough speed and talent to go with the best. He started his season off with a win, so hopefully we can build off that. He’s stakes to everything including the Metro, Breeders Crown and Battle of Waterloo. Hopefully, we get some luck.”

Budd hopes to continue his hot hand with young horses as Astor faces his first OSS event of his career on Monday night as he starts from Post 1 in Race 4.

Saftic will hold the lines, hoping he has another Sir Luck on his hands, as he was in the bike for the $1.1 million Metro Pace triumph in 2002.

As for Budd, he’ll be hoping Astor can keep pace with two of his former standout stars.

To view entries for Mohawk's Monday card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.


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