The Colt With Winning Connections

Published: June 25, 2010 07:00 pm EDT

You've defeated All Speed Hanover and Fred And Ginger. Your trainer and co-owner won the 2009 North America Cup, another of your co-owners was part-owner of the 2007 Cup winner, and your breeder raised the 2008 Cup champion. Your post position has won this race more than any other. Just because

Art Professor made it into the 2010 Pepsi North America Cup final based on the luck of the draw, don't think that the colt only has luck on his side.

In 2008, trainer Steve Elliott was bringing along a two-year-old colt by the name of Well Said and was coming off the 2007 Horse of the Year season of Donato Hanover. According to David Scharf, one of Donato's co-owners, Elliott had his eye on a certain 2008 yearling selling at the Lexington Selected Sale as Hip #18.

"Steve went to the yearling sales and reached out to me that [Art Professor] was his favourite colt at the sale," Scharf told Trot Insider. "He was from a smaller breeder and didn’t have a commercial family, but Steve loved him."

Elliott collared the colt for $100,000 from the Spring Haven Farm consignment. In 2006, the Spring Haven Farm consignment at Lexington featured a Mach Three colt by the name of Somebeachsomewhere. After the sale, Scharf joined in on the ownership with Martha Frank - who owned a piece of millionaire Tell All.

Fast forward to 2009. Art Professor made his two-year-old debut a winning one, with a 1:52.4 score at the Meadowlands. The connections then entered their pacer in the eliminations for the Governor's Cup at Chester. While finishing a solid fourth and not qualifying for the final, Art Professor bounced back with an impressive first-over 1:51.2 score in the $75,000 Consolation - defeating eventual Breeders Crown champion All Speed Hanover and Fred And Ginger. It was enough to travel two weeks later to Lexington to take on the best, with two weeks of Grand Circuit stakes scheduled. Art Professor finished a hard-closing fifth in his Bluegrass division before abruptly ending his rookie campaign.

"We were going to race at Lexington one more start, but he got sick after his one race there," noted Scharf, "so we just decided to shut him down for the season."

The 2010 season started for Art Professor with back-to-back qualifying wins at Harrah's Chester, including an eye-catching 1:51.3 score, before making his pari-mutuel debut at the Meadowlands. A fourth-place finish in 1:50.2 was followed by a 1:49.4 mile, finishing second to A J Corbelli. With just two starts under his belt, Art Professor was dropped in the box to tackle the best in the division in the Pepsi North America Cup. In the third division, driver Brian Sears made the most of an outside post with his horse to finish fourth and get into the final by draw.

"We thought the horse was a nice horse, he wasn’t being pointed to the NA Cup in particular," stated Scharf. "He is obviously a long shot in The Cup and he will tell us where he should be raced going forward."

Scharf, who was part of the ownership group that campaigned 2003 North America Cup favourite Allamerican Native, agrees with the consensus that the depth in the division provides tough sledding for all involved.

"The group of three-year-olds this year may be different than the last few years as there seems to be more depth in the division this year and no single standout. Now that could and may change as the races play out, but right now it's very deep and I think Art Professor will need to improve a bit to be considered in the top tier."

Mohawk's 13-dash Saturday program has a first-race post time of 7:10 p.m. Post time for the 27th edition of the Cup (Race 7), the richest pacing event in the world, is 9:40 p.m., The Score Television Network will air a special one and one-half hour telecast nationally from 8:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (ET).

To view free, printable program pages for Mohawk's Saturday card courtesy of TrackIT, click here.

To view SC's regular entries page for NA Cup night, click here.

To view the recap of the post position draw, click here.