Day At The Track

Ducharme start nine in $720,00 MASS

02:34 AM 26 Oct 2020 NZDT
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George Ducharme, harness racing Without A Warning, harness racing Royal Envy, harness racing
George Ducharme starts nine in the $720,000 MASS Finals Monday
Without A Warning and driver Scott Zeron
Tom Melanson photo
Royal Envy (#7) and driver Shawn Gray beat Moni For Lindy by a nose
Tom Melanson photo

Plainville, MA --- Harness racing trainer George Ducharme has been one of the top trainers competing in the Massachusetts Sire Stakes for years and his success in the series is no surprise as many of the horses the Walpole, Massachusetts native starts are tight and experienced coming in off their New York Sire Stake races.

This year he brings a "Ducharmy" of nine starters to Plainridge Park on Monday (Oct. 26) including a pair of defending 2-year-old champions looking to repeat and take their share of the $720,000 up for grabs in purse money. Here is a look at his starters followed by some comments by Ducharme.

In the 3-year-old trotting filly division, Ducharme has a three headed monster led by Without A Warning (RC Royalty-Concentration) who is one of those returning champions.

Without A Warning race against Love A Good Story and Hypnotic Am all summer in the NYSS and finished third in the $225,000 final. She has now won three in a row in MASS competition, taking a new lifetime mark and setting a MASS stake record of 1:54.2 in the process.

He is also starting Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon 'n Grits) who is a sister to 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life and Greyscale (Credit Winner-Global Beauty) who has had some light stake work in New York.

"Without A Warning is just a nice horse. She raced those three good fillies in New York all year and held her own. She was just maybe a step below them, but it has definitely bravened her up for the competition level she's had to race so far."

"Dramatra was just growthy and sore last year so we quit with her. This year she's come back to be a useful racehorse that has held her own in stakes so far. Greyscale is a good honest little horse, not quite as fast as the other two, but one that has done what we've asked of her to this point for sure."

Ducharme has two 3-year-old trotting colts starting including another returning champion, Life Is A Feast (Royalty For Life-Luau Hanover) who was racing in the Ontario Sire Stakes and Double Dealing who was a NYSS Excel A finalist.

"I just got Life Is A Feast back a couple weeks ago. I trained him down last winter and then sent him up to Canada for his Canadian stakes. He hadn't raced in almost three weeks before his first MASS start the other day and I think he needed the race. So hopefully he should be a little better this week."

"Double Dealing has just turned into a real honest little horse. He trots 55-ish every week and he can do it on the lead or from behind and I'm pretty happy with him."

Another two starters appear in the 2-year-old trotting colts division with In The Cards (RC Royalty-Super Starlet) who had a win and a third in NYSS action and Beantown Madness (Conway Hall-Armbro Archer) who Ducharme has been very pleased with his progression coming in.

"Beantown Madness has turned out to be a really nice little horse. We were very slow with him, we raced him in the NYSS Excel B races and let him learn because he wasn't the biggest horse at the time. But he's grown and filled out and really come into his own and he's learning how to make speed. I couldn't be happier with him."

Ducharme's last trotting entry is 2-year-old trotting filly Royal Envy (RC Royalty-Temper Of Will) who seems to be peaking at the right time and is three-for-three in MASS action.

"Royal Envy was growthy and sore most of the summer and that hindered her progress. I qualified and tried to race her and she just wasn't good so we backed off on her, blistered her up a couple of times, brought her back and she's been really good. She definitely has plenty of speed and she's finishing her miles real good right now. I think she'll become a useful horse, hopefully Monday, and then into next year."

Ducharme is also starting one pacer, a 2-year-old filly named So Amazing (So Surreal-Teddy Ballgirl) that has actually raced up to her name.

"So Amazing is just a nice filly. Last week I was really impressed with her, having horses at her the whole mile without a breather and finish the way she did. And to pace in 1:53 as a 2-year-old against a good group of fillies. That's a real good division because there are three or four in there that have taken turns every week depending on how the trips go."

Ducharme also commented on how far the stake has come since the Race Horse Development Fund was put in place in 2015.

"Every year this stake gets more competition as the quality of the mares gets better. And the numbers are getting better because people have faith in the program at Plainridge and Massachusetts right now. I think all of the class groups are in the 20's next year so a lot of them could go split divisions next year," said Ducharme.

"We bought a couple more Mass-bred yearlings in Lexington this year besides our home-breds so we're going to keep supporting the program for sure."

By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts
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