"Captain" returns to Tony Alagna in great shape

04:22 PM 05 Feb 2014 NZDT
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harness racing
Tony Alagna and Captaintreacherous
Photo by Ken Weingartner

2013 was a dynamic year for super horse Captaintreacherous and his trainer Tony Alagna, winning 13 out of 16 races and bagging over $2,000,000 in purse money.

It was truly an unbelievable season that saw the 3 year old son of Somebeachsomewhere travel throughout the continent, winning at Mohawk Racetrack in Canada and at Balmoral Park, Pocono Downs, The Red Mile, Hoosier Park, Tioga Downs and The Meadowlands in the USA.

After a well deserved break, the 4-year-old Captaintreacherous returned home to Tony Alagna’s farm at the end of January, in anticipation of a great 2014 season. Will Captaintreacherous, driven by Tim Tetrick, win another $2,000,000 in 2014? That’s tough to predict, but even if Captaintreacherous won half that amount, it would be still be an unbelievable achievement which rarely happens.  Captaintreacherous is the Lebron James of horse racing, all they do is win.

Trainer Tony Alagna, (Anthony P. Alagna is his full name), has been working with horses his entire life. Tony would help his family after school, on weekends and during the summer when he wasn’t in school. Ever since Tony can remember, his dream was to run his own stable and have a fleet of world class horses. With the wonderful success of 2013, it’s interesting how some in the industry welcome him as a new comer when he’s been here all along. Tony views that opinion as odd and explains, “People view you as you’re an overnight sensation when you’ve been in the business your whole life. My parents trained horses when I was a kid, my mom still trains in Chicago.”

“Sometimes people are surprised of the success I’ve had in the last four years on my own…. It’s hasn’t been a four year plan, it’s been a lifetime of work and goals to get to this part.” says Tony. “I like to tell people I’m the oldest new comer around.”

Prior to running his own operation, Tony trained horses for other stables for 16 years, including working for Irv Miller and Fox Valley Standardbreds. “It’s been a lifetime of being around the horses and learning to get to the stage I am at now.” Tony admits.

 When it comes to a horse’s personality, they’re just like humans, each one is unique. Tony says “They’re like kids, each one has their own learning curve”. As to what it was like when Captaintreacherous joined Alagna Stables and how his learning curve was, Tony said “…he’s really an easy horse who makes us look good.”

“He’s very schedule orientated” Tony says. “During the racing season he doesn’t get any days off, we jog him every day. He’s very simple, when he’s done he is ready for lunch. For what he likes to do, he is very ritual like. He is what the doctor ordered, as far as we are concerned, being the first great son of Somebeachsomewhere.”

Once Tony and the ownership group saw his pedigree, it was love at first sight. “We only looked at the horse because it was the pedigree we loved. Secondly, when we saw the horse, he was the complete package…. He’s a great individual and a great athlete.” Tony says. Once they brought him back to the farm and turned him out Tony admits “…he had a presence about him. It was something special from the get-go. Whenever he stopped, he would look at you. Like he was looking for you and you weren’t looking for him. There is just a special presence with a great horse. We spent a lot of money, with the hope of, if he showed up the possibilities would be endless and we are blessed it turned out that way.”

With a well deserved vacation over, it’s time to get back to the fun of racing. For 2014, Captaintreacherous will not be ready to race until June and as for any races Tony and the ownership are looking to enter Captaintreacherous, it is too soon to say. Tony points out what they’re going to do and states, “Like we did last year, we are going to pick and choose our spots. We haven’t marked down any dates; we want to try (and) win major stake races and continue to add to his already strong resume.”

Captaintreacherous came back to Alagna stables “much bigger and stronger.” according to Tony. “He really filled out and he’s more mature…. We had to let out his harness, it’s much bigger than last year’s. He’s a very entertaining horse, that’s one of the reasons why we did the stall camera. I told everybody that this horse is very entertaining during the day…. He’s so playful it’s a lot of fun for people to watch. I know some people who cannot believe his antics throughout the day.”

As to who can challenge Captaintreacherous this season, there are a few Tony thinks can have a breakout year which should make this year quite intriguing. Tony notes, “There are a lot of great horses coming back this year. Foiled Again is coming back and (trainer) Ron Burke has some great horses coming back, there’s Sweet Lou…. There is plenty of competition, we hope our horse is going to continue to do the work he’s done and do us proud.”

Tony is proud of Captaintreacherous and hopes to one day guide the sons and daughters of Captaintreacherous to the same level of success. There is still a lot of racing to do, but Tony being one for charting things out, has already given some thought as to which mares he would like to breed with Captaintreacherous. “My long term goal with this horse is, someday train Captaintreacherous’ sons and daughters out of fillies I have in the barn right now. I don’t feel like we are setting up ourselves for having 2 or 3 years of success, rather hoping we set up ourselves for 10 years of success. We bought fillies last year and bought fillies this year, with Captaintreacherous in mind as the stallion. American Ideal and Western Ideal fillies, we think, will compliment Captaintreacherous with him being from Somebeachsomewhere.”

Getting to know Tony was great. Tony considers his entire home to be his man cave! He has everything spread out so it’s all accessible at any time for convenience. Since Tony travels extensively throughout the racing season, his form of unwinding is coming home to relax. He does enjoy going to New York City to watch a show, but other than that Tony considers himself very low key.

For fans, Tony wants to help promote the sport and deliver top class entertainment. Tony asserts, “It’s our responsibility as trainers, owners and drivers to do our part to keep the positive flow going. We need to make ourselves more accessible to the fans, I think we need to bring down all the stereo types we have within the industry. There are so many things we need to try do to bring the fans back to the track because there’s more competition… we need to make it  family orientated, where it’s a fun night out and not just about gambling.”

It’s thanks to people like Tony Alagna, Tim Tetrick, Mike Hamilton and Scott Zeron that fans can continue to enjoy great experiences at the races.

by Roderick Balgobin for the Supernova Sports Club

www.supernovasportsclub.com   Twitter: @ScSupernova
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