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Harper Well Represented

Published: August 6, 2014 3:23 pm ET

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It is quite possible that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had no idea the 89th edition of the Hambletonian was raced this past weekend. Nevertheless, his Standardbred namesake made both he and his Canadian connections proud at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

He didn’t get all the marbles on Saturday, but after facing a three-pronged attack by trainer Jimmy Takter, the Ontario-sired Harper Blue Chip rallied for a third-place finish and netted his connections over $106,000 in purse earnings.

The third-place result was not too shabby, considering the colt was facing the continent’s top three-year-old trotters and had to start from the disadvantaged Post 9.

"When the draw (for the Hambletonian) came out, we said, 'Realistically, if we could ever get a fifth, we'd be having a great day,'” the colt’s assistant trainer, Shawn Steacy, was quoted as saying. “The way the race unfolded with a third brings smiles to everybody's faces."

Harper Blue Chip is trained by Lansdowne, Ont.’s Mark Steacy, who is the father of Shawn. The career winner of six of his 15 races is also owned by a large number of Ontario residents, many of whom got in on Harper Blue Chip via a successful fractional ownership group.

The Guelph Mercury’s story on Harper Blue Chip explains that interests from Ontario encouraged Blue Chip Farms in New York State to breed some mares to stallion Majestic Son, who was voted Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2006. The report explains that in a reciprocal move, officials with Blue Chip turned around and named one of the subsequent offspring Harper Blue Chip, in honour of the colt’s Canadian sire, influence and Prime Minister.

(With files from The Guelph Mercury)

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