Day At The Track

'Drink' looking to party in Confederation Cup

05:51 AM 15 May 2015 NZST
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Lets Drink On It capturing his elimination in 1:51.4
Lets Drink On It capturing his elimination in 1:51.4
Photo by Racehorsephoto
Lets Drink On

DUNDAS, May 14 - Lets Drink On It can toast to an impressive harness racing 2015 so far, finishing no worse than second in four starts and neatly putting away his competition in the second Confederation Cup elimination at Flamboro Downs on Sunday.

The Seekman family is no stranger to speed, having trained Art Official to a successful career with over $2 million in career earnings, and are now back in the fast lane with one of his offspring.

"I honestly think he's (Lets Drink On It) a better horse than Art Official was," said trainer and owner Tina Seekman. "I can't take anything away from 'Art' though, but as far as determination, he definitely has given a lot more than what Art would have done."

After suffering from a small setback as 2014 wrapped up, Lets Drink On It seems to have returned in fine form.

"He trained down awesome this past season, he had a few little issues with a leg that he's had since he was a baby, but we got everything taken care of," said Seekman. "He seems like a more mature colt than he was last year.

"He's gotten taller and a lot bigger from three to four, but as far as driving, I know he wasn't the easiest to drive sometimes. He could be just a bit squirrelly."

The four-year-old came off an impressive win at HoosierPark in 1:51.4 by five lengths with a last quarter in 26.3 before heading to the Dundas, Ontario oval. Owned by Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vincent Boido Jr., Lets Drink On It looked to improve upon his last visit to Canadian soil in the 2014 Pepsi North America Cup where he experienced a tough trip, finishing eighth. Having banked in excess of $600,000 lifetime so far, he will look to extend his win streak to three with the Confederation Cup final.

The May 10 card featured two nine-horse fields, with Ron Burke trainee All Bets Off sweeping the competition in the first elimination in a track record 1:50.4. Lets Drink On It rallied off cover, capturing his elimination in 1:51.4 but did so without his usual partner in the bike.

Driven regularly by Tyler Smith, it was a surprise to fans trackside that local Billy Davis Jr. would be taking up the challenge.

"Billy has got a name for himself up there, he handled the horse really good and it worked out perfectly on the track," said Smith, proud of the horse's effort regardless. "I wish I could have been there but I had trouble with my flight. I'll be watching on Sunday though, I texted Tina right after the win that he looked good and that I was happy for them."

Seekman called Davis Jr. Sunday afternoon, explaining the predicament. As one of the top drivers at Flamboro Downs, she felt he would know the track best and that he would be the optimal choice. Understandably, he jumped at the chance.

"It really came out of nowhere," said Davis. "I got the call around 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon and they told me Tyler Smith had some trouble travelling and they needed a driver.

"I watched the horse in previous years; he was always in the mix and had a good kick. They gave me a play by play beforehand and explained how he should go. I warmed him up and got a feel for what he was like."

Happy with the elimination drive, Seekman chose to remain with Davis going into the final. Affectionately known as "Drink", the colt emerged from the race in good spirits and in good health, setting high hopes for a promising effort on May 17. Unfortunately the luck of the draw did not seem to be in their favour this time around, with announcer Gary Guy selecting post position eight.

"He doesn't leave a lot; he has never been a leaver when the gate folds so he likes to drop in where he goes," said Seekman. "He responds best if he can come with cover and as soon as he tipped him off from cover, the horse kicks in two more gears. If the race sets up, he'll be alright out there."

As for Billy Davis Jr., he is confident the speed and talent shown in the elimination will shine through again in Sunday's final.

"I didn't want to move him in the mile, but at the three-quarter mark he did it himself and was ready to go. He got up on the helmet and they were going big fractions. He had tons left in the tank, we coasted home.

"He's the best horse I've ever driven and with the speed in this race, I think it could set up just right for him."

Following the Confederation Cup, Lets Drink On It will be pointed to the Graduate Series at Tioga Downs on May 25.

Confederation Cup Elimination

 

Mark McKelvie
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