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"I Think We Will See A Pretty Wild Mile"

Published: August 31, 2011 12:18 pm ET

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When Hurrikane Kingcole lines up in the $1 million Metro Pace this Saturday at Mohawk, he will represent memories of both past and present for co-owner John McDermott.

The bay colt, who has a shot to take all the spoils in this year’s edition of the race, is named after McDermott’s son, Kane, and his late, 210-pound Great Dane, Cole.

“Hurrikane Racing started from a horse I use to have named Hurrikane Billy G,” McDermott explained. “My older sister made a joke one day about my son, Kane, and said he’s a 'hurricane,' just by the way he acted. That name just stuck.

“Then there is my dog, Cole. He was like a best friend to me. So I put the two names together and we got a champion in Hurrikane Kingcole.”

McDermott also fondly recalls Hurrikane Billy G.

“He is my all-time favourite horse,” he said. “He was a trotting son of Dr Ronerail that made right around $300,000 for me. He was the most incredible, wonderful horse I have ever seen. The only thing better than him is being married and having children.”

McDermott will now to look to Hurrikane Kingcole to create another memorable moment. He has a chance at the $500,000 top prize after finishing third in his elimination.

“He’s so, so smart,” McDermott said. “Last Saturday in the paddock, I saw other two-year-olds rearing up and acting like a two-year-old should. But not my horse, he stood there like a five-year-old.”

Hurrikane Kingcole tasted defeat in his Metro elimination for co-owners John Levy Racing Stable, Jeffrey Kuhen and Mitchell Cohen, but prior to the event, the career winner of $89,991 recorded four consecutive wins. His $40,000 elimination went to A Rocknroll Dance, who equalled the World Record with a 1:49.1 performance.

“We will see (1:) 49 again,” McDermott said. “It’s going to be questionable to see how the race unfolds. There are a lot of horses with great gate-speed including mine. I think we will see a pretty wild mile, and whoever gets the best trip that isn’t roughed up will find the winner’s circle.”

A mere $10,000 purchase, McDermott recalls buying his superstar on the final day of the 2010 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

“He was bred by Allamerican Harnessbreds and the first foal out of the mare was very small and didn’t look the part. I have a great relationship with 'Allamerican' and they told me to go look at this horse. I instantly fell in love with him. I really thought he was going to bring $20,000 at the sale, but I was thrilled to get him for $10,000.”

Instead of keeping ‘Kingcole’ in New Jersey, McDermott insisted on sending his pupil to trainer and good friend, Des Tackoor in Ontario in preparation for the Metro Pace.

The pair became friends in 2003 when Tackoor raced Allamerican Theory ($920,913) in the Pepsi North America Cup while McDermott conditioned a rival, Quarter Carat ($531,896).

“Des is probably the most particular trainer and person I have ever met,” McDermott said. “When I send him a horse, I never have to worry about a thing. It’s a comforting feeling for me, because I know my horses are in terrific hands.”

Ironically, Tackoor and McDermott are both protectors of society. Tackoor is a firefighter by trade and McDermott is a retired police officer.

McDermott is the first to admit he and Tackoor don’t have a great deal in common, personality-wise.

“I’m so carefree about life and very relaxed, but not Des,” McDermott chuckled. “Des, is over-kill, he worries about everything. He’s worried if it’s going to rain the next day or not.”

Tackoor is no stranger to the Metro Pace, as the veteran conditioner captured the 2000 edition with Pro Bono Best from Post 7, the same post Hurrikane Kingcole has been blessed with.

Although he boasts a respectable 1:51.3 speed badge this season, Hurrikane Kingcole will likely not be the bettors’ choice when the freshman pacers go to post, but McDermott remains optimistic about his chances with his connections.

“It’s a great group of horses on Saturday,” McDermott said. “The one thing I have going for me is Luc Ouellette. There is no person I feel more comfortable driving my horse than Luc. He has done such a great job with this horse and he handles this horse beautifully. I’m absolutely thrilled with the job Luc has done, as well as Des.”

McDermott is hoping the thrill ride continues on Saturday night.

To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack.


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