Day At The Track

Fielding - Uncle Peter is on the upswing!

06:17 PM 24 May 2013 NZST
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Uncle Peter
Uncle Peter
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Harness racing owner John Fielding feels the 'success pendulum' may be swinging upward again for Uncle Peter. He hopes to see proof of that from his 4-year-old trotter in Sunday's $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia.

"I think he'll race well," Fielding said. "He seems to have gotten over all his sicknesses and stuff that he had last year. His last few starts have been great. He looked fantastic last week and we expect him to keep going."

The sickness Fielding spoke of derailed Uncle Peter's campaign last season. He entered the Hambletonian as the favorite after winning eight of 12 career races, including the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack. But the son of Cantab Hall and first foal out of the mare Victory Treasure finished a disappointing seventh placed eighth. That's when Fielding, trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Ron Pierce knew something was wrong.

"I think it was hot that whole week and I think he hadn't been himself that week," Fielding said. "I wouldn't say we were apprehensive about entering him, but he didn't seem to be 100 percent. After the race it was very evident that there was something bothering him.

"I just think he had some nagging sickness that never left him. It was just this virus that wouldn't leave him. He was running a fever, he just wasn't himself. He was kind of run down. Because he's a 3-year-old we were trying to get him ready and push him a little bit and he went backward. We finally said the right thing to do was stop him completely."

Thus, Uncle Peter did not race from late August until early November. His return was encouraging, with second-place finishes in the Oliver Trotting Classic and the Matron.

For his career, Uncle Peter has won nine of 22 races, finished among the top three a total of 17 times, and earned $695,154. Fielding owns the horse with his brother Jim, Christina Takter, Brixton Medical AB and Goran Falk.

"Jimmy Takter has been saying all the way through that he's the best colt, even better than Little Brown Fox, better than Guccio," said Fielding, referring to two of his other horses. "I'm hoping this year Uncle Peter can show us all the confidence that Jimmy Takter showed in him.

"His mile a couple weeks ago was great. Last week he looked really, really good. I think he's on the upswing. I think now he's back to where we thought he was last year."

On May 4, Uncle Peter and driver David Miller finished second to Modern Family in the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old trotters. Last week Uncle Peter won a winners-over handicap in 1:53.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia.

"He did it quite easily," Fielding said. "When I saw the replays, he looked much more comfortable and was trotting a lot nicer."

The Toronto resident felt that last year was just the result of living creatures being unable to perform like mechanical devices.

"These things aren't machines," he said. "You can't just start them up and expect them to go all the time at 100 percent. But I think last week was a real indicator he's back to himself and the way he should be. Now we have to see if he can continue like this, or if maybe he's one of these horses that can't deal with the stress of these fast miles and the workload."

Off the track, Uncle Peter doesn't seem stressed about anything. He has the same characteristics as his namesake -- Fielding's late brother, Peter.

"He's very, very laid back," Fielding said. "Peter was a fantastic guy, and he's a lot like him. Nothing bothers him. He's a pretty cool customer.

"He's a 4-year-old going against older horses. I expect him to have a huge year, but you never know."

If the pendulum keeps swinging in its current direction, than it could be a huge one indeed.

Following is the Maxie Lee field in post position order with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Ice Machine, Corey Callahan, Walter Carroll;

2. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter;

3. Blacktuxwhitesocks, George Brennan, Trond Smedshammer;

4. He's Spooky, Eric Carlson, Michael Hall;

5. Wishing Stone, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke;

6. Opening Night, John Campbell, Jim Campbell;

7. Sevruga, Andy Miller, Julie Miller;

8. Modern Family, Tim Tetrick, Daryl Bier.

by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

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