TORONTO, December 18 - At the age of 10, Kindly Poet is hard not to consider the ultimate war horse on the Woodbine Entertainment circuit.
The veteran pacer has been a star at the Rexdale oval and has gone on to earn 44 career victories and is a mere $7,640 shy of surpassing $1 million in career earnings.
On top of that great accomplishment, the talented pacer etched a new 1:49.4 career best this season at age 10.
Kindly Poet will look to become harness racing's newest millionaire with a victory in Saturday's sixth race at Woodbine.will guide veteran from post six in the $16,000 condition event.
Trained throughout his career by, who also owns a piece with Scarff Legacy Stables, Donald Varcoe and Daniel Sarafian, Kindly Poet has raced 214 career starts with all but 12 of them on the WEG Circuit (Woodbine & Mohawk).
Not bad for a horse that was never supposed to set hoof on the racetrack.
"He had a broken shoulder as a weanling and the veterinarian said that he would never race," Brethour, a resident of Sunderland, recalled. "As a yearling, we just broke him and turned him out. We brought him in the barn at two, but only started to come around at three. To this day he still has a fairly large bump on his shoulder, but he races with it."
Kindly Poet quickly overcame all odds and made his qualifying debut on March 6, 2006 at Kawartha Downs. The result was a victory in 2:00.1 with Brethour in the bike.
"At the time, I was just happy he made it," Brethour said, with a chuckle. "He gradually got better and better and climbed the ladder."
Kindly Poet began his racing career two weeks later at Georgian Downs with a third place finish before finishing second in the next three dashes.
He won his first race when he shipped into Woodbine and got up in time in 1:53.4 with Hall of Fame driverin the bike.
Since then, Kindly Poet has made 40 more trips to the winner's circle either at Woodbine or Mohawk with multiple victories at the Open/Preferred level.
"He's just tough and has a lot of class to him," Brethour said. "At home, he knows he is king. He's very set in his ways and knows when it's time to race. When he makes the type of money he does, he can do whatever he wants," Brethour said, with a laugh.
Looking back on Kindy Poet's career, he has certainly overcome all odds and provided many thrills for Brethour.
"He just loves to win and did it all the hard way," he said. "His largest payday was winning thefinal back in 2007 when the purse was $67,000.
"He's just a warhorse and there's really no better way to describe him," Brethour continued. "He's raced pretty much his entire career at Woodbine or Mohawk and was your typical Saturday night horse. As a trainer, you can't ask much more than that."
, who was a frequent pilot behind Kindly Poet, agrees with Brethour.
"He was just a gentleman to drive," Waples said. "He was very accommodating to drive. He had a big motor, terrific manners and an absolute pleasure to drive. He left it all on the racetrack every night and always put forth a terrific effort."
As for the future of Kindly Poet, he isn't going too far from home.
"He'll race at Woodbine and Mohawk until he's no longer competitive," Brethour said. "Once he's done racing, he'll have a home for life on the farm. My daughter rides him so he's certainly a pet and part of the family."
It's been hard work, good fortune and a personal touch from his trainer that has certainly paid off for Kindly Poet.
No one can ask for more than that.
by Greg Gangle for WEG