Fashion Frenzie A Fresh Threat

Published: September 2, 2022 04:59 pm EDT

Francis Richard ignored the warning sign - literally - when he bid $7,000 for trotter Fashion Frenzie as a yearling, and has been richly rewarded for it.

The now four-year-old son of Archangel is a two-time Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion, an O'Brien Award winner in 2021, victor in the 2022 Earl Rowe Memorial Trot, and a winner of almost $850,000.

Saturday, he'll face the toughest test of his career, lining up alongside the likes of Ecurie D, Forbidden Trade and Atlanta in the $610,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

 "We felt pressure in the Rowe (at Georgian Downs), because he was a heavy favourite, but  there's no pressure in this one. You look at the field and there's some big guns in there. We're just happy to be in the race. If you're in, you have a chance. If he races well, we'll be satisfied," said Richard, 32, who holds down a full-time job at an aluminum plant in Becancour, Que., while also overseeing a stable of racehorses.

Fashion Frenzie is the best he's ever owned. His father Sylvain, also part of the ownership group, had a big money-winner once before, Quebec Sires Stakes star Canbec Mustang.

"When I went to see the horse before the auction, there was a sign on his box that said 'dangerous'.  I went in anyway and he came right to me. He didn't seem that bad," said Richard.

"I didn't mind that he was a ridgling because I'd had one the year before that ended up winning (an OSS) Gold at Grand River, and I liked that he was the first male foal from the dam. We thought he'd go for a lot more than he did. We were wondering if we missed something," said Richard, who broke the yearling himself and had him gelded.

Early training was at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres, where the trotter qualified, after which he was sent to Ontario-based trainers, initially Dustin Jones, then Richard Moreau. He's been a star ever since on the Ontario circuit.

 "It's true that he's not the easiest horse to be around," Richard said, "He has an attitude, you have to watch him. But we adapted to his way of doing things. We live in his world, and that has worked out well."

Richard said the plan was to start the gelding's four-year-old campaign slowly, because three to four usually is a difficult transition year for horses.

He's had only five starts this year - all wins - heading into the Maple Leaf Trot, and has started only 24 times in his career, winning 16.

"We took our time, trying to keep him fresh, because he always give his all. We just staked him in Canada this year, including the Breeders Crown. He's in tough, but he showed last year he can compete with top horses. He was fourth in the Canadian Trotting Classic, and I was happy,'" Richard said.

To view the entries for Saturday's card of harness racing at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

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