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Patience Earns Wilcox Grassroots Start

Published: September 19, 2009 2:35 am ET

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Donald Wilcox purchased Dangerous Man last fall, and for six months the Midland resident thought he had an absolute dud on his hands.

Fortunately, Dangerous Man turned things around this spring, and the three-year-old trotting gelding will make his Grassroots debut at Georgian Downs on Tuesday.

"We bought him from the sale at Flamboro last fall. He was broke, but he was green," recalls Wilcox, who trains and shares ownership of the gelding with Kenneth Desjardins of Hanmer. "I worked with him, but up until a couple months ago he looked like he was a dud.

"He hippity-hopped. For about four or five months he hippity-hopped, and then one day he stopped," adds the horseman. "Around the first of May he decided he could trot, and he hasn’t looked back since."

Dangerous Man qualified for the first time on July 25, but made a break late in the mile and finished 33 lengths back in fifth. Two weeks later Wilcox hauled the Angus Hall son back to Georgian Downs for a second qualifier, and Dangerous Man laid down a solid 2:03.3 effort. On August 14 the gelding made his long awaited debut and sprinted home from eighth at the three-quarter pole to record a one and three-quarter length victory in 2:01.3.

Wilcox piloted Dangerous Man to a second win on August 21, and then to a pair of runner-up finishes on September. 4 and September 12.

"He’s very good; intelligent, kind, but he’s also very hot," notes Wilcox. "That’s the problem we are having with him, trying to control his speed. If you shooed him out of there too much, you might not be able to get him rated.

"He’s good natured, he’s just full of himself," adds the horseman. "My wife says he’s exuberant. He’s very exuberant. He’s exuberant when he eats, he’s exuberant when you drive him, and when you play with him he’s exuberant."

Wilcox will hand over the lines for Tuesday’s Grassroots to Thornton resident Stephen Byron, who will send the gelding after a share of the $24,000 purse from Post 7 in the second race.

"I like to drive them in maidens, but for the Grassroots I put a little more experienced driver on him," says Wilcox. "I’ve known Steve for years, and I trust him."

Dangerous Man will also go postward in a non-winners event at Georgian Downs on Saturday evening, leaving just two days before his Grassroots debut, but Wilcox does not expect that to have an impact on the youngster’s ability to make an impact on the provincial scene.

"He’s racing Saturday night, and back Tuesday, but he’s tough. I don’t think it will bother him," Wilcox explains. "After this Grassroots we’ll give him a couple of weeks rest. This was our last shot at the Grassroots, so we thought we’d give it a try."

Dangerous Man has banked $12,750 for Wilcox and Desjardins through his first five starts, and will be looking to add to that total on Saturday and Tuesday. The gelding has already earned more than double the $5,200 Wilcox paid to acquire him from the 2008 Fall Extravaganza Mixed Sale.

"I was going to pass on him," recalls Wilcox. "I had a set price in mind, but my wife put my hand up at the sale. She sort of bought him for me.

"We had a lot of discussion about that [in the winter], but eventually he proved out," he adds, with a chuckle.

Dangerous Man and his sophomore trotting colt peers will be featured in Races 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 11 on Georgian Downs’s Tuesday evening program, which gets under way at 7:25 p.m.

To view Tuesday's harness racing entries, click here.


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