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Bigtime Ball Rolling Strong At Five


Published: August 13, 2009 7:50 am ET

Last Comment: August 13, 2009 9:30 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

With names like Mister Big, Shadow Play, Art Official, Bettor Sweet and Shark Gesture floating around amongst the aged pacing division, the Canadian-based Bigtime Ball might be considered an underdog heading in the Canadian Pacing Derby, but Gord Irwin’s homebred son of Presidential Ball-Keystone Trinidad has been tearing up the Open ranks on the WEG circuit and his success at five should not go unnoticed.

Bigtime Ball’s top-notch five-year-old campaign has been no surprise for Irwin, who predicted a standout season with the bay gelding after he trained down super this past winter.

“We knew the way he was training in Florida this year and the way he qualified he was much stronger and he had developed,” Irwin told Trot Insider. “Then when we started to bring him back racing [driver Paul MacDonell] even noticed a difference in him. So we had hopes that he was going to pick up the pace from other years.”

Last year Bigtime Ball put together a record reading 3-6-3 in 19 starts with earnings totaling $143,060. This year, Irwin’s star pupil has shown even more consistency recording eight wins and three close seconds in 12 starts with earnings equaling $265,692.

“I knew the horse always had talent,” added MacDonell. “You know what its like when they’re four, it’s a bit of an adjustment to jump into the fire with the likes of Mister Big. I kind of had an inkling he’d be better at five, but he’s definitely exceeded those expectations for me anyway.”

Bigtime Ball started off the year with a four-race win streak in May before finishing second by a nose in the third leg of the Classic Series at Mohawk on June 6. His only off the board finish so far this season came in the Classic Series final the following week, but his effort did not lack luster as he sprinted home in :26.2 to clock his mile in 1:49 and earn a fifth-place cheque. From there, Bigtime Ball headed to Georgian Downs for the Masters Pacing Series where he finished second by half a length in first round action and then demolished his rivals in the second leg and final.

“At the Masters he was very good,” recalls Irwin. “In the first elimination we sort of had an unorthodox trip and it cost us to finish second, but after that he was very dominant and very strong. Paul made the statement after the [final] that he just did it all on his own and we were very impressed with him.”

The following week, Bigtime Ball went out and finished second by a neck in the Mohawk Open, then lowered his mark to 1:48.2 over an off track. Keeping with consistency, Bigtime Ball returned to the Campbellville oval last Saturday for another victory over a sloppy track.

“Everytime we go out, every week he gives you all he can give you and that’s all you can ask for.”

Bigtime Ball, a winner of 21 races lifetime and $870,173 will look to complete his road map for the year with starts in the upcoming Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk (eliminations on Saturday, August 29) and then the Gold Cup Invitational at Woodbine in October.

“That’s kind of been Gord’s plan with this horse all along,” said MacDonell. “He just doesn’t want to get on the road and travel with him. He just wants to keep the horse local and have him sharp. He finds that he can make just as much money racing right on our circuit and pointing him towards the bigger aged events right here at Mohawk and Woodbine. He’s had luck with that before. I think Invitro made $2 million and only raced in the States once, so it’s worked out for him before and we like that schedule.”

Irwin retired his standout pacing mare Invitro with a record of 35-30-11 in 106 starts and $2,383,597 in earnings last September. The eight-year-old daughter of Camluck-Keystone Trinidad is currently in foal to imminent Hall of Famer Somebeachsomewhere.

“If you know this game, you know you’ve got to have a lot of luck and you have to have good people with you all the time. I think that’s very important [for success],” said the 71-year-old resident of Cobourg, Ont. You have to have a good trustworthy driver and veterinarian and blacksmith; you’ve go to have it all and just hope the horse stays healthy.”

August 13, 2009 - 9:30 pmAllo Gord, we wish you the

Allo Gord, we wish you the best from Montreal. You're doing a great job
How many horses are you planning to train next winter ?

Hélène and Gaétan

August 13, 2009 - 12:28 pmDear Gord, I was wondering

Dear Gord, I was wondering after reading the article, if Pete Wardlaw is still helping you with the horses, or are you Flying solo now? What a high speed horse The Ball is. All the Best. Al & Kendra

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