Day At The Track

Linden Wells and his exciting 'Game Plan'

07:42 PM 16 Sep 2011 NZST
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The Game Plan
The Game Plan - With $150,800 in career earnings to date
New Image Media Photo

Harness racing owner Linden Wells loves the excitement that comes with owning horses and on Saturday he will be cheering for The Game Plan when he goes postward in the $469,000 William Wellwood Memorial.

The son of Kadabra-Image Control has banked $165,800 already in his debut season, which includes a victory in his William Wellwood Memorial elimination last Saturday.

With a record of 5-1-1 from eight lifetime starts, the two-year-old trotter will look to capture his biggest win of his young career on September 17.

“Well, we are going to be confident, but not over confident,” said the Mississauga resident. “It’s a strong bunch of colts.”

Wells got the racing bug early, but he only recently got back into the sport he loves.

“I followed the horses since the 1940’s with my father and mother, not as an owner, but as a little boy,” he said. “I had some horses of my own in the 60’s and had a very nice stable of aged pacers, racing at Blue Bonnets [Raceway] and Rideau [Carleton Raceway] with Mac and Marj Vance and their son Gordon.”

In 1980, Wells decided to get out of the business after experiencing three devastating losses; the loss of his mother and trainer Mac Vance, and his job. He then had move from Ingleside to Toronto to find work.

After a twenty-eight year hiatus, Wells was drawn back into the game in 2008. And what is it that about owning horses that brought him back?

“The thrill of racing,” said Wells. “I love the smell of the barn. I love the people and the backstretch atmosphere. It’s where a person can have a wonderful time.

“My son, Lance, met John Kopas (who trains The Game Plan) and we started slowly with John and now we have an opportunity to have a successful year,” he added.

And it is The Game Plan who will look to bring his connections success, which includes Wells and his son, Lance, the pair behind LLK Stables, Gary Grieve, Anthony Wagner and Kopas, who also owns a piece of the gelding.

Wells admits that The Game Plan is one of the top rookies he has ever owned and it is his natural stride and talent that makes him a stand out.

“Until I met John Kopas I never had yearlings before,” he said. “I bought older horses and claimers. This would be the best colt I’ve ever had. He trots fluently and he enjoys his work too. He is just a very special horse.”

Even though the gelding has had a lucrative campaign as he sits atop his divisional standings with the highest earnings in the Ontario Sires Stakes program ($142,300) and he will be racing in his biggest stake to date on Saturday, Wells feels the experience is worth more than the money.

“Money is money,” he said. “It is always important, but the thrill of winning a race such as the William Wellwood Memorial would be more important to me than the money.”

And The Game Plan is certainly providing Wells with excitement. He has proven he has speed. In last week’s $30,000 elimination, the bay got under the wire in an eye-catching 1:55, while taking a new lifetime mark in the process. The time of the mile also set a new Mohawk track record for freshman male trotters, which stood for three races until American Gangster lowered the mark by one fifth of a second in the final Wellwood elimination. It was a race that had the recent retiree on the edge of his seat.

“When he pulled out to be first-up, I held my breath for a few minutes then I had faith and he got the job done with a top trainer, driver and groom,” said Wells. “The driver being Jack Moiseyev, the trainer being John Kopas and the groom being Pat Harding, can’t get a much better chance of winning a race than with those three people.”

Hoping for a repeat, the trio will team up once again when The Game Plan leaves from post position two in the rich final, which is slated for race nine.

$469,000 William Wellwood Memorial:

PP - Horse - Listed Driver

1. Power Play - David Miller

2. The Game Plan - Jack Moiseyev

3. American Gangster - Brian Sears

4. Little Brown Fox - Ron Pierce

5. Nothing But Class - Tim Tetrick

6. Appomattox - Luc Ouellette

7. Weingartner - Jimmy Takter

8. Heres The Magic - Scott Zeron

9. Money On My Mind - Andy Miller

10. Prestidigitator - Sylvain Filion

The Game Plan - last week's $30,000 elimination

Ashley MAYOTTE

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