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Catch The Dream Retired

Published: August 14, 2019 11:00 am ET

Last Comment: August 14, 2019 5:06 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

After a long and solid career battling some of the sport's best year in and year out, veteran trotter Catch The Dream has been retired by his connections.

Trainer Bruce MacDonald confirmed recently that the 11-year-old Cash Hall gelding, who brought the trainer towards the highest echelon of Canadian harness racing, will not race again. He finished fourth in his most recent and now final start after nearly seven years of racing near and at the top level of Canada's toughest circuit. on the Woodbine-Mohawk circuit.

“He's done now,” MacDonald told Trot Insider. “He's getting old; he's had issues in the past. I like to think that I managed him well, but there's just no way to judge a horse's heart. That horse definitely had a lot of grit, a lot of heart. Like no other one I ever had.

“Right now, he's got a suspensory issue that I have to address,” MacDonald also said. “He's turned out in a small paddock every day for a few hours. One of the things that's made him last so long is he's easy on himself, so he's not going to do anything stupid out there. The injury that he has...I continued to race him, at his age it would be a debilitating thing. He's not at that point, and I don't want it at that point.”

Catch The Dream -- owned at the time by Dan MacIsaac and John Bach -- started his career in the winter of 2011 while in another barn, racing for Patrick Hannon at Pompano Park before moving to Jessica Okusko at Vernon Downs and then to Jimmy McDonald at Pompano. As a two-year-old he made one stakes start: a division of New York Sire Stakes at Monticello where he finished eighth. He had more success in the winter at Pompano between his three- and four-year-old seasons but earned slim-enough checks to qualify him for the Swing Into Spring Series at Woodbine. MacIsaac had him shipped to Bruce MacDonald.

“Dan MacIsaac's a longtime owner and partner with my boss, Marv Chantler,” MacDonald said. “He originally sent me the horse as a four-year-old. He was eligible to the Swing Into Spring Series at Woodbine at the time, and they sent him up to give him a shot in that. There were no big expectations from the horse; it was just one of those things, and it just took off from there.”

Following a seventh-place finish in the Swing Into Spring final, Catch The Dream earned a steady income racing at Georgian Downs before moving full-time to the WEG circuit. Despite ongoing and slight soundness issues, he eventually rose into the Preferred ranks by December of 2012, a tough time in the history of Ontario's harness racing industry with impending cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program. Co-owner Bach wanted out of the business, so MacIsaac bought his 50 percent share after the horse was appraised at a seemingly reasonable $50,000.

“Dan called me and told me what was going on, and it was a no-brainer,” MacDonald said. “I liked the horse. He did have some soundness issues at the time, and he continued to battle them his whole career. Maybe that was part of it, but no question that the state of flux the horse racing industry was in at that time could have played a factor.”

As a five-year-old -- and for nearly the rest of his career -- Catch The Dream raced exclusively in the top-class trotting conditions at Woodbine and Mohawk. His 2014 campaign warranted a shot against the top Canadian trotters in the $100,000 Earl Rowe Memorial at Georgian Downs, again earning spots in the Rowe in 2017 and 2018, finishing third. All in all, the $14,000 Morrisville Sale purchase raced 241 times, won on 44 occasions with 35 seconds and 40 thirds. He retires with a career bankroll that exceeds $861,000.

“Part of [what made him a great competitor] would have been the fact that he was just a horse that I never saw squander a bad trip,” MacDonald said. “If he was put in position to win, he did, or he was on the board. He raced and beat a lot of good horses; that was his biggest attribute. If he was put in position, he always took advantage of it.

“He had a lot of wins. He had 44 wins, and more than 30 of them were in my barn. But the one that always stuck out to me was last year, a level just below the Preferred. He came first-up and International Moni drafted him all the way, and he just fought him off right to the line the whole way. 1:53.2, last quarter was :27 and change, I believe. That will always stand out to me.”

Having raced against other top Canadian trotters including O'Brien Award winners the likes of San Pail, Intimidate and Daylon Magician, Catch The Dream persisted against his colleagues. For almost seven years he raced competitively at the top classes Canadian harness racing can offer. But now MacDonald is at work planning a second career for his trotting star.

“I work with a girl named Melanie Dilts; we're hoping she and I can work something out,” MacDonald said. “She has a riding horse of her own, and we're hoping we can work something out where he can go with him and she can break him for some trail rides, things like that.

“I’ll never train another one like him,” MacDonald also said. “Not one like that. I've trained some really good horses in my career -- Card Trick Hanover, Armbro Acquire -- those are top horses. But he's my favourite. He just showed up every week. It sure was a fun ride. I can't thank Dan MacIsaac enough for always backing me up and sticking with the plan. The guy always backed me up, never questioned what I did. Owners like that just don't come along. It would be great to have one with him again.”

August 14, 2019 - 5:06 pmI love watching him race with

I love watching him race with his closing kick, best of luck to the horse and his connections!

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