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Euro Man's A Quirky Colt

Published: July 31, 2012 7:41 pm ET

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Creativity, patience and luck have all played a part in landing Euro Man among the two-year-old trotting colt division’s top 10 Grassroots point earners, and trainer Gerald Sloan figures all three factors will once again be at play over the Woodstock Raceway oval on Friday afternoon.

Bred and raised by Gerald and Joanne Sloan at their Harley farm, Euro Man was sent to a local Mennonite to learn his early lessons and Sloan says he was astonished to learn about the creative approach that overcame some of the colt’s quirks.

“He was the type of colt that seen everything so he was sort of a, he was a bit of a, how would you say — I wouldn’t say goof ball, but next to it,” says Sloan with a chuckle. “He was a project, put it that way. We had to take our time with him, take our time with him.

“In fact, I got the Mennonites to break him for me and apparently at one point he was so bad that the certain Mennonite that broke him used to jog him at night so he wouldn’t see so much,” Sloan continues. “I couldn’t believe it when he told me that. He said, ‘That was the only way I could get miles in the bugger.’ I wouldn’t even think of that, most people would probably give up on him.”

Once Euro Man could keep his mind on his work in the less distracting twilight hours his jogging schedule was gradually moved back to a more conventional time slot, but Sloan still has to employ creative tactics when he takes the youngster to the racetrack. The son of Cornaro Dasolo-Shesintuff has a fear of large machinery, so Sloan does not head out for warm-up miles until the track maintenance crew shuts off their engines.

“He just cannot stand any big tractors or water trucks, he just about runs out of his skin every time he sees them, so I’ve sort of got to work his schedule around every time they go on and off. It’s tough,” Sloan explains. “The good thing is, I’m in the first race, I’m hoping I can sort of watch them and as soon as they go off, I’ll go on.”

Sloan successfully avoided trucks and tractors in the Grassroots season opener at Clinton Raceway on July 8, but starting from the outside Post 7 Euro Man was more interested in the crowd of people over the rails than the horses taking off from the starting gate in front of him. By the time driver Scott Coulter gained the youngster’s attention they were 20-plus lengths behind the leaders.

Although they crossed the wire in seventh, Coulter was satisfied with the way Euro Man finished the race and expressed cautious optimism about the colt’s future prospects. Eleven days later Euro Man proved Coulter right when he earned a Grassroots trophy with a 2:04.1 effort over a Hiawatha Horse Park oval rated three seconds slower than normal.

“He got a little lucky though, the front end really took off and he was pretty fresh coming home,” says Sloan of the trotter’s winning effort. “He had an outside position, everybody was game on the inside, and they were going. He sort of tucked in and they started coming back to him — and Coulter sort of just anticipated them coming back and kept going — and he just got braver as they went.

“They don’t happen too often, them type of trips,” adds the trainer with a chuckle.

For the first time in his short career Euro Man will start on the inside of the starting gate on Friday afternoon, getting Post 2 in the first race, and Sloan is hoping Coulter can carve out another flawless trip for the unpredictable youngster.

“Once he’s in to race, and there’s horses around, he seems to pay attention,” notes the horseman. “You never know though, he might go into one of his fits any time, that’s the scary part.”

Euro Man’s half-sister Thundering Ovation captured the two-year-old trotting filly Grassroots Championship last season, and Sloan is hoping the colt can travel at least part of the path blazed by his big sister.

“He’s got a little potential, but he’s not a real big horse. The mare, his half-sister Thundering Ovation, she’s a nice good sized mare, but this one, he’s just a little wee horse,” says the trainer. “But he likes to trot so… we’re optimistic about him.”

Euro Man and Coulter face a field of six at Woodstock Raceway on Friday, including two newcomers to the Ontario Sires Stakes program. The colt and his peers will kick things off in the first race at 4 p.m., with the other two-year-old trotting colt Grassroots divisions going postward in Races 2 through 8.


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

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