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Six For Six After Four-Year Break

Published: August 21, 2019 10:56 am ET

Last Comment: August 22, 2019 8:40 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

He was deemed ‘too slow’ as a freshman and sent back to his owner. He then spent the next four years pulling an Amish buggy. He’s now won all six of his starts since returning to the races. If you haven’t had a chance already, take the time to meet Cooper.

The story of Cooper, an Ontario-sired gelding, has cracked the mainstream press, due to his unexpected streak on the track and a profile piece by veteran racing writer Bob Roberts for The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Cooper, a six-year-old son of Kadabra, just didn’t have it during his freshman racing campaign back in 2015. The quickest clocking he could muster at the time was a 2:01.1 mile over Woodbine Mohawk Park. He was able to record a pair of third-place finishes that season, but was then shipped back to his owners.

At that point, it appeared as though Cooper’s days on the racetrack were over. As Roberts’ piece explains, the bay then spent four years pulling an Amish buggy.

It’s now clear that Homer Stutzman and Firman Troyer – who are longtime Sugarcreek, Ohio friends, according to the report – each played an important role in Cooper’s life.

A few years ago, Stutzman purchased Cooper at auction for a couple thousand dollars. The reason? To pull the Stutzman family’s buggy.

Looking to get the most out of his new buggy horse, Stutzman had an equine chiropractor work on Cooper a bit and also monitored a kidney issue that the gelding was dealing with. To make a long story short, Stutzman noticed that Copper thrived after the care.

“I started hearing his hooves hitting the axles on the buggy,” Stutzman explained. “That told me that he was really feeling good and stretching out.”

Stutzman relayed the information to Troyer and encouraged his friend to give Cooper a shot at the races, once again.

Troyer went on to purchase Cooper from Stutzman. The plan was to get the gelding back to the races. Nobody could’ve imagined what has transpired since.

Cooper, pictured victorious after having pulled a buggy for four years.

For the first time in four years, Cooper recorded a charted line, which was a 1:57.4 qualifying win at Northfield Park on May 30. Troyer dropped Cooper’s name into the entry box at Northfield soon after.

Without getting into the minutia of it all, Cooper has done the unthinkable. He has recorded six consecutive wins in pari-mutuel races at the Ohio track, each of which has been won with faster clockings. He hasn’t lost since his return to the races and has won each of his assignments by open lengths.

Cooper is scheduled to race tonight (Wednesday, Aug. 21) at Northfield Park. He has been installed as the 7-5 morning line favourite for Race 10, which is expected to face the starting gate at roughly 9:00 p.m. He will start from Post 7 in the nine-horse field.

“He’s a total surprise. Every time he races, he amazes me,” said Troyer, who later in the article stated, “We never figured this would happen, but we’re enjoying every minute of it.”

(With files from The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

August 22, 2019 - 8:40 amMake it 7 for 7. Cooper won

Mike Mobley SAID...

Make it 7 for 7. Cooper won last night in 1:56.3 at odds of 1-20.

August 21, 2019 - 3:07 pmSulkies weigh less than half

Mike Mobley SAID...

Sulkies weigh less than half as much as Amish buggies. If I were Cooper, I would prefer to pull a sulky too!!

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