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Deters Finds A Diamond In The Rough

Published: March 19, 2021 2:44 pm ET

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When trainer Mike Deters purchased pacer Hesa Kingslayer N last year, he was told the gelding might be a diamond in the rough.

Initially, the emphasis was on rough. In his first couple trips to the racetrack, the horse was a bit hot to handle. But after several equipment changes, Deters has been left with a gem.

The eight-year-old Hesa Kingslayer N raced only 29 times Down Under, winning 13. Since arriving in the U.S., he has won five of 14 starts and hit the board a total of 11 times while earning $89,425.

This past Monday (March 15), Hesa Kingslayer N won his opening-round division of the MGM Borgata Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. In the second leg on March 22, he is 9-2 on the morning line in the fourth of four divisions. Let It Ride N, unbeaten in seven U.S. starts, is the 2-1 favourite followed by This Is The Plan at 3-1.

“It looks like he drew what might be the toughest division,” Deters said. “But if he’s going to get anywhere in the series, he’s going to have to beat these horses sooner or later anyway, so it’s all good. Hopefully, we work out a nice trip and he’s pacing at the wire.”

In his first Borgata start, Hesa Kingslayer N and driver Jim Marohn Jr. got a second-over trip before a three-wide move from fourth place heading into the final turn. Finishing with a rush has become the gelding’s signature style; only once has he been closer than fourth at three-quarters in any of his Stateside races.

“He’s never very close,” said Deters, who owns Hesa Kingslayer N with Joel Warner. “He went a couple of unbelievable trips at (Harrah’s Hoosier Park) where he was in another ZIP code at the half and ended up being very competitive. He has a tremendous finishing kick.”

Hesa Kingslayer N is the first horse Deters has ever started in the Borgata series, which was formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The six-week series concludes April 19 with a $150,000-added final and $75,000 guaranteed consolation.

“It’s a very tough series and I’ve never had a horse that was a really good half-mile-track horse,” Deters said. “It seems that all the horses that come from New Zealand and Australia are very good small-track horses.

“As long as we make the final, I’ll be very happy. In reality, if we make the consolation, it’s a good thing. He’s a nice little horse and we have the opportunity to race for pretty good money every week. I just hope he shows up.”

Deters does not plan to race Hesa Kingslayer N in all of the preliminary rounds of the series. Horses receive 25 points for entering and additional points based on their finish, with 50 points going to the winner, 25 to second, 12 to third, eight to fourth, and five to fifth.

“Win, lose, or draw, he will not race every week,” Deters said. “I don’t know when it will be, but we’re definitely going to give him a week off and freshen him up. Hopefully, we’ll have our best foot forward later, hopefully, for either the consolation or the final.”

In addition to the Borgata, Hesa Kingslayer N is staked to Grand Circuit events at The Meadowlands and Hoosier Park.

“If he’s good enough, he’s staked where he can do well,” Deters said. “I’m very happy we got him. The agent that we bought him from said he might be a diamond in the rough. We got lucky. I’m super happy.”

Other first-round Borgata winners were Let It Ride N, Lyons Steel, San Domino A, and Leonidas A.

Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Monday at Yonkers.


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