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Best Ears Ready For Rideau Battle

Published: July 14, 2011 8:23 pm ET

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The looming presence of Canada’s fastest two-year-old pacing colt, Warrawee Needy, may have scared some starters away from the Gold Series event at Rideau Carleton Raceway, but heading into Monday’s $130,000 Gold Final, driver Scott Zeron does not think elimination winner Best Ears has anything to worry about.

“I’ll take it week to week, but I know he’s got a lot of gate speed, and he really likes to mow them down,” says Zeron, last year’s top driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. “I haven’t pulled the (ear) plugs and I haven’t asked him for really any pace yet, so I’m excited to see what he’s got to bring.”

In last week’s elimination round Best Ears eased away from Post 2 and sat fourth through the early going as his peers played hot potato with the lead. Heading down the backstretch Zeron sent the young pacer up the outside and Best Ears grabbed control around the final turn before sailing home to a three and three-quarter length victory in 1:52.3.

The win was the second straight for Best Ears and Zeron, who also captured a consolation event for starters in the Gold Series season opener at Mohawk Racetrack on July 4. The pair failed to qualify for the first Gold Final due to an equipment snafu that saw Best Ears rambling all over the track in the June 27 Gold Elimination, eventually finishing eighth.

“He had some equipment errors in the fact that he was running in beyond control. I went over, I’d say, six or seven pylons on the first turn,” recalls Zeron. “He had a Murphy blind and a head pole all on the outside to prevent him from running out, but he was doing the complete opposite. You know, that’s just the first start with two-year-olds, you don’t know what they are going to do really.”

Since then Takter and his staff have altered the colt’s equipment and Zeron says the son of Shark Gesture and Extreme Dream gets better every week.

“He kind of wanders a bit, he’ll run out on me in the straight-aways, and then he’ll run in on me in the turns, but week to week now he’s getting perfected quite well. And I knew he was talented even that day I finished eighth in the eliminations,” says the reinsman. “I was happy he was able to prove it the next two starts.”

Zeron picked up the drive aboard Best Ears through his connection with the colt’s part-owner John Fielding. Toronto resident Fielding also has horses with trainer Tony O’Sullivan, one of Zeron’s regular employers on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit, and he recommended the young driver to Takter.

“This is actually the first horse I’ve ever drove for Jimmy,” points out Zeron. “And hopefully I continue to stick with that one all year.”

Fielding shares ownership of Best Ears with R A W Equine of Burlington, ON and Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ. The partners acquired the colt from last fall’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale, bidding $82,000 for the half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes standout Tiz To Dream, who has earned $702,578 in her career. Prior to making the trip north Best Ears qualified twice at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, logging a pair of 1:57 miles on June 4 and 11 in rein to Takter’s son-in-law Marcus Johansson.

On Monday the young pacer will make his bid for the lion’s share of $130,000 from Post 5, and Zeron expects to give reigning Gold Final champions Warrawee Needy and Jody Jamieson a run for their money. Warrawee Needy won his elimination by five and one-quarter lengths in spite of a brief bobble on the backstretch and remains Canada’s fastest two-year-old with his 1:51.4 mile in the first Gold Eliminations of the season, but Zeron thinks Best Ears has the talent to go toe-to-toe with the early favourite.

“Probably all year they’ll be short horses just because everybody will be scared of Jody’s horse,” muses the Oakville resident. “They only went with 13 in the elimination and it might get shorter and shorter every week, but this is a good bunch of horses that are in to go in Ottawa, and I really do think that Jody’s and mine both stand out really well.”

The two-year-old pacing colts will duel in Race 5 on Monday, July 18, with Rideau Carleton Raceway sending the first race behind the gate at 4:30 p.m.


To view entries for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Entries – Rideau Carleton Raceway.

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