Day At The Track

Carter Pinske set for Grand Circuit debut

05:00 PM 25 Sep 2019 NZST
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Carter Pinkse and Amigo Volo, harness racing
Carter Pinske and Amigo Volo
Makenna Amiss photo

After finally getting to spend an entire winter in Florida working with his family's racehorses, Carter Pinske knew it was what he wanted to do full time. So, when the harness racing season was ready to begin, Pinske followed a group of those horses to trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman's stable, where he worked as an assistant for Norman in New Jersey, Canada, and now Kentucky.

And on Thursday (Sept. 26), the 24-year-old Pinske will step out for his Grand Circuit training debut in the third division of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters with Amigo Volo at Lexington's Red Mile. The gelding, who heads to the race off a second-place finish behind Real Cool Sam in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind Kentucky Sire Stakes champ Ready For Moni.

Amigo Volo is owned by Pinske Stables, headed by Pinske's father Karl and grandmother Marlys, and Florida's David J. Miller. With Pinske already in Kentucky with the horse, Norman decided it was time for him to take the reins.

"He's been real generous to let me do that," Pinkse said. "I'm very fortunate to have these owners trust me with the horses in Florida and then be completely fine with whatever Nifty decides along with myself. They're great owners and I've been really fortunate all the way around."

Prior to this past winter, Pinske helped prepare the family's horses for racing by assisting as much as time permitted around his school schedule. Pinske graduated from college in May 2018 and was happy to get a full winter with the horses in Florida before sending them to Norman as well as trainer Julie Miller, as he had done in previous years.

"I went to Florida wanting to train horses, but I didn't know it would blossom like this," Pinske said. "This year, I sent 14 horses to Nifty and I went with them. He's just an awesome guy to learn from. He puts full trust in you and lets you take off. He's a really smart guy with a horse; he's got a really good way with a horse. Just being around him, it just kind of vibrates off him.

"I'm extremely appreciative of Nifty. It's a partnership that's not going anywhere."

Amigo Volo, by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma, was purchased for $42,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to Reign Of Honor, who won last year's Kindergarten Classic Series championship for Norman's stable.

In August, Amigo Volo won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in 1:54.4 at Harrah's Philadelphia, setting the world record for a 2-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Real Cool Sam, who is undefeated in eight races this year, lowered the record to 1:53.4 when he won the PASS championship at the same track.

"He went a really big mile," Pinske said about Amigo Volo's runner-up effort in the sire stakes final. "He had to do a lot of the grunt work and Real Cool Sam got a great trip. I thought we might have him there, but (Real Cool Sam) is just a game horse, a tough one to beat."

For the year, Amigo Volo has won two of six races and earned $115,896.

"He's just an awesome horse to be around," Pinske said. "He's a little horse, a little spitfire of a horse. I had to be real patient with him down in Florida. He always showed talent, he just lacked maturity. According to Nifty, that's about how the full brother, Reign Of Honor, was when he trained down. That's why we ended up gelding him. But he always showed talent and now has finally gotten to show it here. He's a really big-gaited horse for the size he is."

Expectations, who finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the first Bluegrass division. Capricornus, who finished second in the William Wellwood Memorial, is the 2-1 choice in the second. Both horses are from the stable of trainer Marcus Melander.

Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) Thursday at Red Mile. For complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA


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