Freehold, NJ --- Two members of the Noel Daley Stable are on the comeback trail -- highly regarded trotter Broad Bahn and the harness racing trainer Noel Daley himself. Broad Bahn, you might recall, was sidelined by a fracture after winning his elimination for the Breeders Crown last October.
His injury opened the door forto make the field as the also eligible, and took advantage of the chance by winning with a world-record performance.
Daley was sidelined by a compound fracture of his right ankle, which he suffered in a training accident in early January.
"Both are getting better," Daley said, laughing.
, who won four of nine races in 2010 and earned $223,427, is ranked No. 11 in the Experimental Ratings for 3-year-old trotters. The ratings can be found in the March issue of Hoof Beats.
Owned by Denmark's Leif Alber,arrived in Daley's barn after being picked out by Ole Bach and purchased for $20,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a son of out of the mare Madonarail. His second dam, Worldy Woman, won the 1992 Hambletonian Oaks.
"From day one all he would do was trot," Daley said. "We didn't know how fast he was, but I told them to stake him because he would definitely get there and do everything right, which he did."
Interestingly,might have been at his best while dealing with his injury, which was difficult to detect. Daley thought the colt was suffering from a pus pocket because X-rays revealed no damage.
In his three races prior to the fracture being discovered,won his Wellwood Memorial elim, finished second (beaten a neck) in the Wellwood final and won his Breeders Crown elim in 1:55.1, which at the time set the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs track record and was one-fifth of a second off the world record.
Breeders Crown, 2CT, Elim, Race 1, Pocono Downs, Oct 01, 2010
"He's a tough, tough horse," Daley said. "He was probably going for six weeks with it. We just couldn't find it. He's a horse that wants to do it. He'll stand on his back legs and walk out to the track, but once he gets out there he's all business."
spent two months in his stall and then time on a walker as he rehabilitated from his injury.
"He's pretty good," Daley said. "He's been like 2:20. I plan on racing him towards the end of May, if he's progressing. So far I've been very happy with him. He's shown no signs of any lameness. He wants to do it. We just hope he improves enough. He'll need to be a little quicker, like they all do when they come back at 3, but he won't lack in enthusiasm."
As for Daley's recovery, the trainer has been off crutches for nearly two weeks and has resumed sitting behind a few horses. He goes to physical therapy three times a week.
"I've just got to take it easy," Daley said. "We'll just keep working on it. I can actually wear two shoes for a certain amount of time. It's not giving me any pain so that's good."
Daley's time on the sidelines gave him a chance to see his horses from a different perspective.
"I watched them every day from the track, which was something different," Daley said. "It was good to view from the side, but I'd like to be back behind them when I can. We're down to where we have about 60 now, which is a good number for me. But even with that number I can't see every horse every day if I'm out driving. So I got to watch every horse every day. That was good for a change."
Daley joked there was another silver lining.
"If there was a time to miss anything it was now because it was a pretty miserable winter," he said.
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I see that Ontario's SkyArt69 won the Meadowlands Survival Challenge -- and still had the horseshoe available! Well done. The Old Man did make it all the way. He finished in 349th place out of 5,000. He was a mere $514.90 behind the leader.
The USTA's Strategic Wagering program, with cooperation from member tracks, got underway last night. I'll be offering my thoughts on tonight's $15,000 guaranteed Pick 4 at Balmoral Park in a separate blog entry and will call upon The Old Man from time to time for his opinion.
I turned to him for picks on the opener. He said his selections, for entertainment purposes only, were 2-6 (race 9), 5-6 (race 10), 3-4-5-6 (race 11) and 2-5-10 (race 12) for a $48 ticket for a buck.
by Ken Weingartner