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King Gus Shoots For Post Season

Published: October 6, 2008 7:15 pm ET

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Ontario's talented two-year-old trotting colts will battle in their last Grassroots event on Thursday at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and George Judson is hoping King Gus can lock up his spot in the post season with a strong performance over the Ottawa oval.

"He's only had about four or five starts," notes the Athens resident. "He started out not too bad, he had a win at Hanover, but he broke in his last start. We were disappointed with that. I guess they went way too fast to the half."

King Gus will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing break at Hiawatha Horse Park on September 27 with a big effort from Post 2 in the fourth race on Thursday.

With one win and one third in his first three Grassroots appearances, the Angus Hall son currently sits tied for eleventh in the division point standings. The top 16 point earners will extend their season through the October 17 Grassroots Semi-finals at Flamboro Downs.

Judson shares ownership on King Gus with Barry White of Orleans, David Reid of Glenburnie and Richard Karper of Saint-Laurent, QC. The partners acquired the colt at last fall's Canadian Open Yearling Sale for $25,000, and the young trotter has returned just over half of his purchase price through his first five starts.

Lansdowne resident Mark Steacy trains the colt, and his son Shawn Steacy will assume his customary place in the race bike for Thursday's outing.

The pair faces a seasoned field of Grassroots competitors, including three other colts currently ranked in the top 16.

Bertos Legacy is tied for ninth and will start from Post 3, Senor Roberto sits four points ahead of that colt in eighth and gets Post 5 on Thursday, and Stormont Caviar, bred and owned by Stormont Meadows of Long Sault, is tied with King Gus at 62 points and will start from Post 6.

Local colt Luke But Dontouch, owned by Dr. Frederick Albert of Prescott and trained by Spencerville resident Louis Gilchrist, will also battle in the fourth race, making a bid for his first top three finish from Post 4.

King Gus is the most recent in a long line of horses that Judson has raced at Rideau Carleton Raceway over the last 25 years. His ownership career started in the early eighties with a horse he claimed at the Ottawa oval, and he currently owns shares in three young Steacy trainees.

"Back in 1982 I claimed one at Rideau," recalls Judson. "I did so well with it I said to my wife, 'I don't know why everybody isn't doing this.' Well I wasn't long finding out," he adds with a chuckle.

Just 30 minutes from Steacy's Lansdowne training facility, Judson makes his way out once a week to visit with the trainer and see how his horses are faring. He can usually be found trackside when his horses are racing, but Thursday will be his first opportunity to see King Gus compete.

"As far as I know we'll be there. We're not too far from there, about an hour and 15 minutes," says Judson. "I generally follow my horses, but I'm getting up in years."

That said, if King Gus makes it to the Grassroots post season, the septuagenarian will be happy to schedule a trip to Dundas to cheer the colt on in the Semi-finals.

The colt makes his bid for one last point deposit in the second of three $20,000 Grassroots divisions on Thursday. The freshmen trotters square off in Races 2, 4, and 6 over the Rideau Carleton Raceway oval, which raises the curtain on its midweek program at 6:30 p.m.


To view Thursday's entries, click here.

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