Code Word returns to Ontario Sires Stakes action on Friday evening at Mohawk Racetrack and trainer Kevin O’Reilly is hoping some changes to the three-year-old pacing colt’s routine will see him regain the form
that propelled him to a Super Final victory last season.
“We mixed his routine up,” says O’Reilly. “We pretty much cut his jogging out; we just swim him and train him lightly.”
The Moffat, ON resident made the decision to abandon the traditional work out regimen of jogging and training when Code Word started dropping a noticeable amount of weight following each race.
“They race hard these three-year-olds, and every horse will lose a little weight after a race, but he was losing more weight than most horses,” the trainer explains. “That’s why we cut his jogging out and started just swimming and training. He looks much better; he’s holding his weight a lot better.”
In his last two starts Code Word has also been treated on race day with the diuretic Lasix, used for horses suffering from exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. Following a lacklustre start in the July 17 elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk, O’Reilly had Code Word scoped and veterinarians discovered traces of blood in the colt’s upper respiratory tract. Although the bleeding was minimal, O’Reilly opted for the preventive course of treatment due to the colt’s previous battles with allergies, and Code Word made his first start on Lasix in an Aug. 7 overnight at Mohawk, finishing fifth in the 1:52.2 mile.
Back at Mohawk on Aug. 14 for a second overnight test, Code Word finished second to former Gold Final winner Broadies Song, pacing his own mile in 1:50.4. The colt makes his third start on Lasix in Friday’s Gold Series test, starting from the outside Post 6 in the second $40,000 elimination.
“We are trying to manage him so that he lasts the year,” says O’Reilly, who conditions the colt for John Fielding of Toronto, ON and John Carver of Moline, IL. “The division is starting to thin down a bit; it’s down to a dozen horses.”
The changes to Code Word’s routine also reflect O’Reilly’s long term view of the colt’s prospects. A $110,000 yearling purchase at the 2008 Forest City Yearling Sale, the son of Western Terror and Numberone Treasure earned $201,090 in his freshman campaign and has added another $50,870 to his bankroll this season, and O’Reilly sees no reason why he should not continue to boost that tally in the years ahead.
“I don’t see why he can’t race next year as a four-year-old. I think he could get better as he gets older,” notes the New Zealand native. “He’s had a few health issues, but he should grow out of that.
“He’s a tidy looking horse, a handsome horse,” adds the trainer. “He’s a nice horse to have around.”
Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell will steer Code Word in Friday’s third race, facing off against a short field of five sophomore pacing colts including reigning Gold Final champion Mach Dreamer from Post 4.
Broadies Song, winner of the season opening Gold Final at Georgian Downs on July 10, will be looking to redeem himself after failing to advance out of the elimination round at Mohawk on July 31. Trainer-driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, ON will steer Broadies Song from Post 2 in the second race. Canadian Breeders Champion Big Bay Point will also be aiming for a spot of redemption after a disappointing tenth-place finish in the Aug. 7 Gold Final won by Mach Dreamer. Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson will steer Big Bay Point from Post 4.
Mohawk Racetrack raises the curtain on its Friday evening program at 7:30 p.m., and the three-year-old pacing colts will wage their $40,000 Gold Elimination battles in Races 2 and 3. The top five finishers from each elimination will be back at the Campbellville oval for their third $130,000 Gold Final on Friday, Sept. 3.
To view Friday’s entries, click here.