Day At The Track

Thomas Kemp says "My horse is not for sale!"

10:31 AM 18 Mar 2014 NZDT
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Fire In The Belly & Tom Kemp, harness racing Fire In The Belly, Harness racing
Fire In The Belly and 82-year-old owner Thomas Kemp
Photo by Heather Vitale
Fire In The Belly winning at Dover Downs
Fire In The Belly has won four straight races in 2014, including an eye opening 1:50.4 victory at Dover Downs.
He is now the second fastest three-year-old colt or gelding in 2014. Early season sensation National Debt owns the fastest mark with a 1:50.3 mile time. 
Owner Thomas Kemp of Wyoming, Delaware has recently turned down a six figure plus offer by a prominent Delaware horseman. Kemp says the horse is not for sale.
All of Fire In The Belly's victories were won in fairly easy fashion. Veteran trainer, horseman, and owner Jim King, Jr. trains the horse.
"He is the best horse I have ever trained," stated King. "In the 1:50.4 mile he kind of just jogged and it came really easy for him. We are not going to the Clyde Hirt at the Meadowlands. He does not deserve to go against such older horses as Wake Up Peter.
"I think I have a really nice horse," said King. "After consulting with Timmy ( Tetrick ), we have decided what our game plan is. I train several horses for Timmy. We both own several horses together. We don't think that he can't go against the better ones in the big races.
"The owner is 82 years and it costs a lot of money to enter him in the big races," explained King. "Our intentions is to race him in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. There are big races for him next year. He can win a lot of money in the Sires Stakes.
"We were offered a good deal of money the other day for the horse," said King. "The fun that owner Thomas Kemp can have with the horse is worth more than the money. He has been a owner with me for 15 years. We will probably race him a couple more times and than get him ready for the Pennsylvania Sire Stake."
"I picked Fire In The Belly out of the book, went to the sale and bought him for $9,000," said Kemp. "I liked the breeding and how he looked. I have had a lot of big earners but this is the best horse I have ever owned. I turned down a nice offer for the horse. I am up there in age and would rather enjoy racing him."
A gelded son of Real Artist from the Camluck mare, Fire In The Sky, Fire In The Belly has been lightly raced in his career. He is undefeated in his four starts in 2014 and last year started just four times at age 2 with two wins and two second place finishes. He has earnings of $41,900.
If all goes according to plan, Fire In The Belly will be one of the dominant horses in the three-year-pacer's division of the Pa. Sire Stakes. Not selling the horse could turn out to be a very profitable move for both the owner and trainer.
by Brian McEvoy, for
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