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Filly Broken On Country Road

Published: June 28, 2011 10:19 am ET

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If you were driving through Oil Springs last fall, you might have met Apach Of Luck and one of her owners out for a Sunday drive. The pair would have caught your eye, because Apach Of Luck is a standardbred pacing filly and Dennis and Doug Belan’s ‘ride’ was a metal jog cart.

“We actually broke her ourselves, just driving down the country road,” said Doug Belan, who will be taking more conventional transport to Hiawatha Horse Park this Thursday evening to watch Apach Of Luck make her racing debut in a $24,000 Grassroots division.

“When they are born and you raise them — when you think about the journey, she’s quite a miracle to even get here, let alone be good enough to keep up with the crowd,” he added.

Once Apach Of Luck had learned her early lessons on the back country roads around Oil Springs, her owners opted to hand the filly over to Bill Brown of Wheatley. Brown extended the filly’s education, but had to pass her along after a horse-related incident left him with a broken hand. The Belan brothers and their partner, Brian Fitzgerald of Dresden, opted to send the filly to Shawn Robinson in Hagersville, who prepped her for the two-year-old qualifiers in June.

Apach Of Luck cruised around Mohawk Racetrack in 2:00.2 on June 11 and then returned to the Campbellville oval on June 25 for a second qualifying effort, where she posted a 2:00.1 mile over a track rated one second slower than normal.

“They gave some pretty good reports on her,” Belan recalled.

“You hear from the trainer that she’s a pretty good horse, just as good as the competition, and you get your hopes up,” the owner-breeder added. “We’ve been at it a few years now, so hopefully she rewards us.”

Apach Of Luck will attempt to earn a few Ontario Sires Stakes rewards from Post 7 in Thursday’s first $24,000 Grassroots contest. Billy Davis, Jr. will steer the homebred daughter of Camluck and Exonerated against a field laden with first-time starters. Only Grins Little Flirt has a race under her belt, as she finished third in a June 20 skirmish at Mohawk which saw her pace in 1:55.3.

Fitzgerald and the Belan twins claimed Exonerated at Hiawatha Horse Park in 2005 and the mare went on to bank a total of $113,935 in her career. Dennis Belan handled training duties, and his brother figures she could have boosted her bank roll if she’d raced out of a more conventional barn.

”We never really trained her too much. We’d jog her up and down the country roads and then take her down to Mohawk to race against the best in her class,” he explained. “We’d just jog her up and down the road and take her town and she’d keep up with them.

“Hopefully she can pass that along,” he added.

A full sister to Apach Of Luck died in a freak accident soon after her birth last spring, and Belan says the principals of Seelster Farms, where sire Camluck stands, have done a great deal to lessen the impact of the tragedy.

“Seelster's really came through for us with a return breeding,” said Belan. “One thing we all agreed on, if we ever got an interview, we’d mention how good they were to us to give us a return breeding.”

As a result of Seelster’s generosity, Fitzgerald and the Belans are hoping they will have a full brother or sister to Apach Of Luck to race in the future. In the meantime, Belan expects many of their friends and family will be on hand to cheer Apach Of Luck home on Thursday.

“We’re hoping to have some fun with her, but of course you’ve got to make some money,” the horseman said with a chuckle. “They key is to try and get a little bit of that.”

First-race post time for Hiawatha Horse Park’s Thursday evening program is 6:30 p.m. The two-year-old pacing fillies will be showing off their burgeoning skills in Races 4, 5, 8, 9, and 10.

To view entries for Thursday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Thursday Entries - Hiawatha Horse Park.


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