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Durand On Hambo, Heats, Breeding

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Published: August 5, 2011 4:24 pm ET

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"It really wasn't planned to be a Hambletonian venture here, we bought this horse at Harrisburg and he just did everything right all along. When stake payment time came we didn't really have him pegged to be a big stakes horse or anything, but you make that $400 payment as a two-year-old and it was a wise decision at the time."

On today's Trot Radio, Norm Borg goes one-on-one with trainer Tom Durand who will send out Whiskey Tax in Saturday's $1.5 million Hambletonian. The only colt with completely Canadian connections in Saturday's race, Whiskey Tax has drawn Post 6.

"I think the field presents a pretty wide-open race," notes Durand. "[The winner] could be any one of about seven horses in there."

Durand, who trains a small stable based out of Puslinch, Ont., has tasted major stakes success before with the great trotting mare Casual Breeze. On Saturday, Durand will hand the lines over to O'Brien Award winning driver of the year Randy Waples, who gets his first drive in the Hambletonian. Durand is ultra-confident in his driver and hopes his "hot streak" continues on Saturday.

"I can't think of a driver that's pulled off more magic in the last month than him."

A trotting specialist by trade, this is also Durand's first time in Hambletonian final. He entered Roughing It in 1990, but that one failed to make it out of his elimination. At that time, Roughing It would have had to race twice in one day to win the Hambo. Durand is in favour of eliminating the heat racing aspect here and if two heats in one day were required to win, he wouldn't have entered.

"Nope, I probably wouldn't have paid the race up," said Durand. "I don't believe in it, it takes too much out of them. I really value my horses and I'd hate to do something I'd regret, it is awfully hard on them.

"I understand why the forefathers of the business did it because they wanted to breed out the toughest horses they could but now we're going so fast and it's so demanding, I think twice in one day is a little much."

Durand and Borg also discuss whether the long-time horseman feels this movement is beneficial or detrimental to harness racing, with Durand providing some valuable insight. To hear the full interview with Durand, click on the play button below.

Episode 215 – Horseman Tom Durand
Audio Format: MP3 audio
Host: Norm Borg

Please note that the opinions expressed in the featured interview are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect Rideau Carleton Raceway and/or Standardbred Canada.

To view entries for Saturday's stellar card of harness racing, please click one of the following links:
Saturday Entries - The Meadowlands | Saturday Program - The Meadowlands.


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