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Princess Looking For More Gold

Published: August 8, 2011 9:46 pm ET

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Around the barn Peach Martini is known as 'Princess,' and with $501,927 in earnings over the last two seasons, the three-year-old trotting filly’s owners figure she has more than earned the title.

“It’s amazing, it’s just amazing,” says Toronto resident Stephen Waldman. “She’s really been something, she came back well after her two-year-old season, and the fact that she went over half a million dollars last week, that was really special.

“She is a little princess, she really is,” adds the owner, who will be back at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday to root for the filly in the third $130,000 Gold Final of the sophomore trotting filly season.

Waldman shares ownership of Peach Martini with trainer-driver Rick Zeron of Oakville, Michael Katz of Thornhill and Rojan Stables of Wilmington, Delaware. The partners acquired the filly for just $25,000 at the 2009 Harrisburg Yearling Sale and cheered her home to $296,356 in earnings through 11 starts last season. In her eight sophomore starts to date, the filly has already banked $205,571 from three wins, four seconds and one third.

The reigning Gold Final champion, Peach Martini sailed to her third straight Ontario Sires Stakes victory in last week’s elimination round, halting the Mohawk teletimer at 1:55. She and Zeron will take aim on a fourth winner’s circle photo op from Post 4 in Thursday’s Gold Final skirmish.

Beyond the boundaries of the provincial program, Peach Martini logged a third in her Casual Breeze elimination at Mohawk on June 3 and two runner-up finishes in the elimination and final of the Canadian Breeders Championship at the Campbellville oval in late July. The partners decided against racing in the Elegantimage Stake, in hopes of maintaining the filly’s form through to the Nov. 12 Super Final.

“The partners, we discussed what to do with her this year, and we had decided that she’s an OSS horse, that’s where she belongs, and that we weren’t really going to try and race her out of her class. Let her be with her people rather than putting her out, straining her, stretching her out too much,” notes Waldman. “And I think that decision has worked out for her, she’s doing what she’s supposed to; in her head she knows what she’s supposed to do. She’s just on her game all the time.”

While the season ending Super Final may be the larger goal for the daughter of Striking Sahbra and Armbro Martini, Waldman admits that the partners are reluctant to look much farther ahead than Thursday’s Gold Final. Whether through pragmatism or superstition, the group tries to enjoy each race as it comes along without placing too many expectations on Zeron and Peach Martini.

“We pretty well take it week to week, you know just seeing how she races, hopefully she comes off fine and is back the next time, so we haven’t planned ahead. I think we’re all a bit superstitious,” says the owner. “It’s horse racing and it’s horses, and you know, they’re animals and they’re athletes, and you never know what can happen, so the best is just to go as it comes.”

Waldman attends all of Peach Martini’s races, and if the filly has no scheduled appearances, he heads to Zeron’s barn to give the resident princess her due. That regular interaction with the young trotter has allowed him to develop an appreciation of her personality, and that up-close experience with a horse is something he believes all harness racing fans need an opportunity to experience.

“On the Gold Rush night Rick kind of took her by the fence, he took her up to where the kids were, and she just loves that. Her temperament is just wonderful,” he explains. “That’s what you want, you want the fans, you want the people to get involved, a reason to come out to the track rather than just sitting and watching it on computer or watching it on TV.”

Fans watching trackside at Mohawk on Thursday evening will not have any trouble spotting Peach Martini’s connections. Each race night, and each time he visits her at the barn, Waldman brings Peach Martini a special treat of carrots, to maintain his connection with the filly and to acknowledge her eminence.

The reigning Gold Final queen and her court will head in behind the starting gate at Mohawk Racetrack in the eighth race on Thursday, with the first race being called to the post at 7:10 p.m.


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

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