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‘Zenyatta-Like’ Presence From Shamballa?

Published: August 27, 2015 2:33 pm ET

Last Comment: August 30, 2015 3:51 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The virtue of consistency is not easily attained in the world of harness racing.

Week by week, horses are put to the test seeking to improve upon their previous efforts. Like any professional athlete, horses thrive when they get into a rhythm. This, too, is no simple task. Communication between the front and back of the sulky is pivotal. When talent, communication, and tempo all mesh together, they generate a consistency that can seem nearly invincible.

This has been the case of veteran horseman Rick Zeron and his Mohawk Racetrack-based five-year-old pacing standout, Shamballa.

Since the duo first teamed up in June of 2014, they have made it to the winner’s circle an eye-opening 15 times from 23 starts. Zeron has accounted for 12 of the bay’s lifetime wins, so it’s needless to say that the two have settled into quite a groove.

It is accurate to describe Shamballa as a late bloomer, falling under the cliché of ‘humble beginnings.’

Shamballa made his pari-mutuel debut in May of 2013 at Pocono Downs. He broke his maiden over the Pennsylvania oval three starts later, in June. The-now five-year-old gelding had gone on to find mild success in the northeast United States, as he would go on to make the majority of his starts at Pocono, including a few trips to Harrah’s Philadelphia.

His three-year-old campaign wrapped up after having totalled five wins from 11 starts. Shamballa was introduced to trainer/driver Zeron in the fifth race of his four-year-old season.

The son of Somebeachsomewhere placed third in his Canadian debut after having shipped north to Mohawk for the first time. The newly acquainted Zeron returned Shamballa to the track two weeks later and guided the explosive pacer to a dominating five-length win in a career best 1.49:2.

A start on July 14 was a game changer. The two kicked off what would be a four-race winning streak that lasted through the month.

Making his way up through the ranks, Shamballa has been racing at the Preferred level since last October. Since then, he has been simply dominant.

The bay has won seven of 13 Preferred races, posting sub-1:50 final times in the majority of those starts.

Shamballa’s racing style is what makes him a fan favourite. He is the epitome of a closer and has even been referred to as the ‘Zenyatta of harness racing.’

Shamballa saves his energy for a last-minute surge. Racing fans will see him trailing the field more times than not, thus making it seem nearly impossible to get up in time at the wire.

Time and time again, the betting public holds its breath as the heavily favoured closer decides when it’s time to go. To no surprise, his timing is usually precise, nearly perfect, and nail biting to those in attendance. His speed down the stretch is exceptional, as he has continuously posted final quarter fractions of under 26 seconds throughout the summer. It is evident that this exciting pacer has found his rhythm.

Shamballa will be taking his talents to the next level this weekend. He will make his career stakes debut this Saturday at Mohawk, as the five-year-old pacer is aiming towards a bid in the $685,000 final of the Canadian Pacing Derby on September 5. He has drawn the rail in Saturday’s second elimination (Race 7).

With no stakes starts to his name, the gelding has already racked up 20 career victories, with earnings in excess of $260,000.

Zeron will once again take the reins, as he attempts to become the first trainer to drive his own horse to a Canadian Pacing Derby win since Pat Lachance in 2004 with Casimir Camotion.

“He’s coming into the race really well,” said Zeron. “I’m quite happy with the week he had off and he’s coming in to the race just as good as I think he’s going to be. I’m looking forward to letting Shamballa get a chance to race with the best horses in North America. He’s a real nice horse and has worked quite well with the program that I have set up for him. Fans will get to see a lot of Shamballa on Saturday night.”

Shamballa is a son of legendary pacer Somebeachsomewhere and is out of the stakes winning mare, Bolero Takara. Zeron shares ownership of Shamballa with Tao Racing LLC of Pompano Beach, Florida.

The field for the second Canadian Pacing Derby elimination appears below.

(Post – Horse – Driver)
1 – Shamballa – Rick Zeron
2 – Mach It So – Corey Callahan
3 – Evenin Of Pleasure – Sylvain Filion
4 – Melmerby Beach – Paul MacDonell
5 – Foiled Again – Matt Kakaley
6 – Nirvana Seelster – Doug McNair
7 – JK Endofanera – Brett Miller
8 – Limelight Beach – John Campbell
9 – Clear Vision – Andrew McCarthy


August 30, 2015 - 3:51 pmHave to agree with

John Carter SAID...

Have to agree with Mr.Mackinley on Shamballa. He is a real nice horse that anyone would love to own but to compare him to the great Zenyatta is not a little stretch but a giant stretch. Shamballa has not accomplished a great deal other then beating a watered down open class at toronto. State treasurer has turned into a real nice aged horse and has accomplished much more then Shamballa but even state treasurer has not done near enough to be compared to a champion like Zenyatta.

August 28, 2015 - 9:22 amI've watched Shamballa race

I've watched Shamballa race and must admit it is a nice story of a horse coming into it's own as it ages but to compare him to Zenyatta? Maybe his dad could be compared to Zenyatta but to compare a good honest racehorse to a true champion........ bit of a stretch don't you think?

August 27, 2015 - 11:11 pmWhat the heck happened with

Sean DeMarco SAID...

What the heck happened with the Gold Cup situation? It said Shamballa was a judges scratch. Biggest race of Shamballa's career going for $100,000 and scratched? What was the deal?

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