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Ducharme Loaded For Bear

Published: October 25, 2020 12:56 pm ET

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Hambletonian-winning trainer George Ducharme knows a thing or two about getting trotters to the winner's circle. On Monday (Oct. 25), Ducharme is scheduled to send out nine starters during Plainridge Park's program, which will feature a full slate of $90,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes finals. The man with the .360 career UTR has taken the time to discuss his charges leading into the lucrative afternoon card of racing.

Ducharme has been one of the top trainers competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for years, and his success in the series is no surprise, as many of the horses the Walpole, Massachusetts native starts are tight and experienced coming in off of their New York Sire Stakes races.

This year he will bring a 'Ducharmy' of starters to the MASS finals, including a pair of defending two-year-old champions that will be looking to repeat.

In the three-year-old trotting filly division, Ducharme has a three-headed monster led by Without A Warning, who is one of those returning champions.

Without A Warning, who is by RC Royalty, raced against Love A Good Story and Hypnotic AM all summer in the NYSS and finished third in the $225,000 final. She has now won three in a row in MASS competition, and took a new lifetime mark and set a MASS record of 1:54.2 in the process.

Ducharme is also set to start Trixton filly Dramatra, who is out of the same mare as 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life, and Credit Winner lass Greyscale, who has had some light stakes work in New York.

“Without A Warning is just a nice horse. She raced those three good fillies in New York all year and held her own," said Ducharme. "She was just maybe a step below them, but it has definitely bravened her up for the competition level she’s had to race so far.”

Without A Warning, pictured in victory.

“Dramatra was just growthy and sore last year, so we quit with her. This year she’s come back to be a useful racehorse that has held her own in stakes so far. Greyscale is a good honest little horse, not quite as fast as the other two, but one that has done what we’ve asked of her to this point, for sure.”

Ducharme is set to start a pair of three-year-old trotting colts, including another returning champion, Life Is A Feast (by Royalty For Life), who was racing in the Ontario Sires Stakes, and Double Dealing, who was a NYSS Excel 'A' finalist.

“I just got Life Is A Feast back a couple weeks ago," said Ducharme. "I trained him down last winter and then sent him up to Canada for his Canadian stakes. He hadn’t raced in almost three weeks before his first MASS start the other day and I think he needed the race. So hopefully he should be a little better this week.”

“Double Dealing has just turned into a real honest little horse. He trots (1:) 55-ish every week and he can do it on the lead or from behind and I’m pretty happy with him.”

Another two starters appear in the two-year-old trotting colt division with In The Cards (RC Royalty-Super Starlet), who had a win and a third in NYSS action, and Beantown Madness (Conway Hall-Armbro Archer), who Ducharme has been very pleased with his progression coming in.

“Beantown Madness has turned out to be a really nice little horse. We were very slow with him, we raced him in the NYSS Excel 'B' races and let him learn because he wasn’t the biggest horse at the time. But he’s grown and filled out and really come into his own and he’s learning how to make speed. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Royal Envy, pictured in victory.

Ducharme’s last trotting entry is two-year-old trotting filly Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will), who seems to be peaking at the right time and is three-for-three in MASS action.

“Royal Envy was growthy and sore most of the summer and that hindered her progress," said Ducharme. "I qualified and tried to race her and she just wasn’t good, so we backed off on her, blistered her up a couple of times, brought her back and she’s been really good. She definitely has plenty of speed and she’s finishing her miles [very well] right now. I think she’ll become a useful horse, hopefully Monday, and then into next year.”

Ducharme is also set to start one pacer, a two-year-old filly named So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) that has actually raced up to her name.

“So Amazing is just a nice filly," said Ducharme. "Last week I was really impressed with her, having horses at her the whole mile without a breather and finish the way she did. And to pace in 1:53 as a two-year-old against a good group of fillies. That’s a real good division because there are three or four in there that have taken turns every week, depending on how the trips go.”

Ducharme also commented on how far the stakes has come since the Race Horse Development Fund was put in place in 2015.

“Every year this stake gets more competition, as the quality of the mares gets better," said Ducharme. "And the numbers are getting better because people have faith in the program at Plainridge and Massachusetts right now. I think all of the class groups are in the 20’s next year, so a lot of them could go split divisions next year.

“We bought a couple more Mass-bred yearlings in Lexington this year besides our homebreds, so we’re going to keep supporting the program for sure.”

(Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts)

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