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James High On McWicked

Published: July 16, 2014 9:37 am ET

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“I’m a typical owner and think they’re all world beaters and they don’t all turn out that way. I think, long term, this horse will stand up.”

It comes as no surprise that McWicked’s impressive performances caught Ed James’ eye as a two-year-old. Now in his three-year-old season, he has caught the eye of the industry at large.

James, no stranger to equine talent, believes McWicked ranks with Hyperion Hanover and Indiana Hall among the best horses he’s owned.

“I was recommended him by a fellow who does my breeding. My trainer checked him out, and I don’t have any partners so I wanted him and bought him.”

Spending his two-year-old season in Julie Miller’s barn, the colt headed to Jim McDonald’s barn for the winter.

“[Jim] McDonald bought him for me and had him all winter in Florida; all he did was feed and train him. He went a few good qualifiers. I asked Casie if she would take him and race him and she said she would.”

Since joining Casie Coleman’s stable of superstars, he has won four of seven starts and bankrolled in excess of $400,000 so far this year. Delivering a stunning 1:47.3 victory in the Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the son of McArdle now holds the world record for three-year-old colts and geldings over a five-eighth-mile track.

“He hasn’t shown everything he’s got yet. When he won the other night at Pocono, he had lots left in the tank.”

When asked if McWicked could be the next major pacing talent in the industry, James spoke confidently of the colt’s future. With more stakes engagements to look forward to, he has no doubt in McWicked’s performance.

“Casie is doing a great job with him and picking spots for him. He was in great shape when we sent him to her and she’s brought him along even better. He’s got one track record this year so far, with many more opportunities in the future.”

Though four wins in seven starts is nothing to scoff at, challenging trips have prevented the colt from victory more than once. One such trip occurred in the North America Cup Final, his only start finishing off the board this year, pacing for fourth in 1:49.2.

“The only problem he’s had is drivers that were unfamiliar with him, so they didn’t race him as well as they could. In two races, he could have won but didn’t; he got trapped. He’s done everything we’ve asked.”

Drawing the rail in Saturday’s Adios Stakes eliminations, McWicked will be focusing on American stakes for the remainder of the meet. Staked to events like the Little Brown Jug, he will be looking to win Coleman a third straight 'Jug' title. Not expected back on Canadian soil anytime soon, he will be looking to dominate south of the border.

“I am personally annoyed with the Liberals killing racing, so I’m not going to encourage my stock racing in Ontario.”

Interested in racing him as a four-year-old, it’s likely this season will not be the last we see of McWicked.

“Good sires depend on good mares, if he gets them, then he has a chance in the breeding shed. Despite that, I think if he’s sound, there’s no reason we won’t see him.”

“He’s a good horse, rugged, and races good. He’s a big horse with a good disposition and a bright future.”

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Hannah Beckett)

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