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Homefield Edge For Secret Muscle?

Published: September 5, 2014 8:03 pm ET

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Charlie Ward isn’t sure if his two-year-old trotting colt, Secret Muscle, will be the hometown hero when he competes tomorrow night at his home track of Hanover Raceway “but he’s my hero,” says Ward of Hanover, Ontario, who is quite pleased with his youngster's progress to date.

Secret Muscle has post two in the fourth of six Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions with Steve Byron at the controls. The Muscle Mass colt sits with 29 Grassroots points currently and Ward is hoping that his charge will garner enough points to be eligible to compete in the Semi-Final events at Mohawk on September 19.

“That’s the goal. If he doesn’t make it we’ll quit with him and wait for next year. He’s a nice colt, with a great attitude so I think he’ll make a good three-year-old,” noted Ward, who also handles the gelding’s training.

Ward purchased Secret Muscle, who is from the Sir Taurus mare No Secrets Hanover, from breeders Jeff and Dr. Terry Ruch at last year’s Forest City Sale for a mere $3,000. “He was small but he’s grown quite a bit. I tried to buy him privately before the sale but we couldn’t come to an agreement.

“I had his full brother (Bonus Feature). I really liked him but he died last year at two from chronic pneumonia. I thought he was going to be a nice horse which is why I wanted to buy Secret Muscle. He was perfect to break, I broke him myself, I didn’t let him out of my sight because I didn’t want him to get sick.

“The only issue we had with him was when I tried to school him he wanted to go right to the gate. I turned him around and called (veterinarian) Huw Llewellyn who castrated him two days later and he’s been a gentleman ever since. You’d hardly know he’s in the barn, he’s a smart colt,” praises Ward, who trains at the Fritz stable just outside of Hanover.

Secret Muscle has competed in all five of the previous Grassroots events for this group with two fifth-place finishes and then two thirds. In his last outing, at Georgian Downs on August 16 he made a break for the first time in his career and ended up seventh.

“We took three horses to Georgian that night. It was really stormy and the track wasn’t the best and all three horses made breaks. I don’t like to train when it’s muddy so I’m not sure if he stepped in a hole or got mud in his face, he’d never made a break on me before,” explains Ward, who is retired from trucking and trains six horses in total. “I’ve had horses for 40 years and am training full time now that I’m retired.”

Ward is quite hopeful for Secret Muscle’s potential which is why he’s turned down two offers on the colt. “He seems to be getting better, so we’ll see what happens.”

Hanover’s card gets underway at 7:15 p.m. with the rookie trotting colts featured in races one, two, four, six, eight and nine.

To view entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Hanover Raceway.


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