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One For The Underdog

Published: July 26, 2019 3:54 pm ET

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What does it mean to be an underdog? The dictionary defines it as a competitor who is thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest or, someone who has little status in society.

The underdog label could then certainly be applied to pacing horse Casimir Richie P, a modestly-bred horse that nearly didn't survive his two-year-old year and is now competing with and beating horses at Canada's top level.

Casimir Richie P was one of 10 foals sired in 2015 by Astronomical. Of those 10, six made to the track but only three have pari-mutuel starts. In comparison, leading OSS sire Sportswriter had 145 foals born in 2015 with 124 of them qualifying to race, and Bettors Delight was not far behind with 103 out of 117 foals born making it to the racetrack.

Dr. Ian Moore purchased Casimir Richie P privately as a yearling, along with son Tyler and partner Michael Goldberg, for $6,000. Murray McConnell, the former operator of Casimir Farms in Hagar, Ont., originally agreed to sell the horse to an individual in the United States but the deal was never completed.

“I always look at all the Astronomicals and he was the only colt I ever liked, so I told Murray if the sale didn’t go through to call us," Moore told Trot Insider. "I was there the next day and Murray said the American arrangements had fallen through so that’s how we came to buy him.”

In January of his two-year-old year, Casimir Richie P had to be taken to a clinic in Ocala, Florida. There he would spend ten days battling a severe case of pneumonia, developed from a cough he had since the latter part of his yearling days.

“He had a temperature of 106 degrees for almost a week and lost so much weight, it was questionable whether he was going to live or not,” recalled Moore.

The colt, who would already have to overcome his underdog status as a colt with less-than-fashionable breeding in a barn with Grand Circuit-caliber horses, was able to recover from the sickness and qualify as a two-year-old on June 16, 2017. Sadly, McConnell, who bred and raised the colt, passed away suddenly on May 5, 2017 and was never able to watch Casimir Richie P hit the racetrack.

After winning twice as a freshman, Casimir Richie P won eight sophomore starts and finished his three-year-old season competing in the top class at Pompano Park. Now four, Casimir Richie P has earned the title of the fastest son of Astronomical, with a mark of 1:49.1 taken at Woodbine Mohawk Park at the end of June. On July 20, 'Richie' pulled off the minor upset in the $34,000 Preferred Pace for Moore and driver Sylvain Filion, who used an off-the-pace approach to win the rain-soaked affair.

Moore, who also campaigned the horse's sire through a six-year career that saw him bankroll over $700,000, described ‘Richie’ as having the same stature and attitude as his father.

“He looks a lot like him, long and strong. His father was one of the best horses I ever had and he [Richie] has the same grit and desire to race. He’s just been a nice horse to have around,” said the longtime horseman.

Casimir Richie P seeks his second straight Preferred score this Saturday (July 27) as one of seven horses entered in the $34,000 Preferred Pace, leaving from post position five. He's the third choice at 4-1 on the morning line. To view the entries for Saturday's card at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

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