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Chuckalo Caden Looks For O.S.S. Double

Published: August 12, 2010 10:35 pm ET

Last Comment: August 13, 2010 7:40 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Kawartha Downs plays host to the third Grassroots event of the two-year-old trotting colt season on Tuesday, Aug. 17 and Clare “Chuck” Thompson is hoping Chuckalo Caden enjoys the sort of success over his local oval that he found in Sudbury earlier this month.

The son of Mr Lavec and Thompson’s former Grassroots winner, Chuckalo Beckster, scored a one length victory at Sudbury Downs on Aug. 1 with a steady effort that stopped the clock at 2:06.4. Sunderland, ON resident Thompson drove the colt to the win in Sudbury, and intends to employ a similar strategy on Tuesday from Post 6 in the fourth $24,000 Grassroots division.

“I’m not concerned about post position. Basically I want to keep him level and give him a chance,” says the horseman. “That’s what we did last race and it worked out all right.”

Thompson says that, so far, the colt has not shown his mother’s quick speed, but has more than made up for it with his easy going attitude and his steady approach to racing.

“He’s the easiest horse to work with I’ve ever had in my life. Most of the ones from that family are high strung and hard to deal with at the start, but he broke easy, he loaded easy, he trailer’s good — he’s been really good. His mother wasn’t like that, I tell you,” explains Thompson, who bred, owns, trains and often drives his horses.

“He’s not really like the mare. She had big time speed off the gate. She could trot a 27 second quarter at the drop of the hat,” he continues. “But he sticks at it a little bit better than his mother did.”

The trip to Sudbury was Chuckalo Caden’s second appearance in the Grassroots program. In the July 15 season opener at Hiawatha Horse Park, the colt made a break at the start and finished well back of the leaders.

“He had a little problem the first time,” says Thompson. “He interfered with the lad’s foot that was driving him at the start, and it knocked him off stride.”

The colt also had trouble in his June 26 qualifier. First, the track at Kawartha Downs was classed as “heavy” and rated four seconds slower than normal, and then the colt suffered interference at the start and made a break. Driver Murray Brethour was able to settle the youngster quickly and Chuckalo Caden trotted smoothly through the remainder of the mile to a 2:07.4 clocking.

With his family and friends headed to Kawartha for Tuesday’s outing, Thompson hopes Chuckalo Caden’s race-day troubles are all in the past and he can garner a share of the $24,000 purse and a few more Grassroots points. The colt currently has 50 points and is in a six-way tie for third in the two-year-old trotting colt standings. The top 16 point earners advance to the Grassroots Semifinal, a feat Chuckalo Beckster accomplished at both two and three.

Chuckalo Caden is named after Thompson’s grandson, and the trainer says his daughter Becky — Chuckalo Beckster’s namesake — has been an integral part of the colt’s development. Father and daughter work together to train and condition the colt and his stablemates Chuckalo Lightning and Chuckalo Jack, employing a training technique drawn from the world of athletics.

“I don’t train them hard once I get them going,” explains Thompson. “I do a lot of sprint work; I’m an interval trainer.”

The longtime horseman also points out that Chuckalo Caden’s freshman season will be limited in its number of starts, noting that 10 or 12 starts are plenty for a young racehorse.

“I’m not in it for a living — of course we all like to make a buck — I do it because I love the horses and I enjoy racing,” says the horseman.

Thompson will harness Chuckalo Caden in the sixth race on Tuesday’s program. The other Grassroots contenders will line up behind the Kawartha Downs starting gate in Races 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9, with the Fraserville oval’s first race called to the post at 4:15 p.m.


To view Tuesday’s entries, click here.

August 13, 2010 - 7:40 pmI first met Chuck when he

I first met Chuck when he was a Kinesiology student at University of Waterloo and have followed his 'avocation' and professional career with interest as he and I both love the trotting breed. Best wishes Claire!
Doug Paton, Co-ordinator (retired) kinesiology and recreation U of W '67 - '71.

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