Day At The Track

One-On-One with trainer David Menary

02:55 AM 23 Sep 2013 NZST
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David Menary, harness racing
David Menary, trainer of He's Watching

Trainer of undefeated He's Watching

We are talking today with David Menary of Cheltenham, Ontario. He is the renowned trainer of top horses for many years, but for this interview the focus will be on his undefeated 2-year-old pacer, He's Watching. 

He's Watching is one of the most talked about horses currently in harness racing. Many critics and fans argue that he is the best 2-year-old pacer in the world. He's Watching is currently 7 for 7 on the year. He will be racing next this Saturday, September 28 at Yonkers Raceway’s Night of Champions. We caught up with David driving to the Little Brown Jug, after He's Watching just won his seventh consecutive race the previous night at Yonkers. Conducting the interview for Harnesslink.com is Brian McEvoy.

Hlink:  He's watching had a bit of an adventurous trip last night, bearing out in the stretch.  Tell us about the race.

DM:  Jim (Morrill, Jr.) and I talked about it a lot.  He's proved he can go with any trip.  He can spot them 20 lengths.  He is fine.  He can come first up or on the front end.  Once he got to the front he dug in like the champion he is.  Good horses are good horses.  We don't have much rigging on him.  We talked about changing him before the race, and we probably should have.  The colt is as sound as ever.  He's raced over a lot of tracks.  I am not concerned at all.  He ran out badly.  If he hadn't run out, he would have won by 10 lengths.  That night, only two colts paced better than 55.  We're 10 lengths better, not being perfect.  We will iron him out.

Hlink:  Let's start at the beginning.  You bought He's Watching at the Harrisburg Sale for $3,000.  What did you see in him to make that buy?

DM:  I don't put as much time into the Harrisburg Sale as I would like to.  When I go to Harrisburg, I look at every NY bred, Somebeachsomewhere, and Ontario sired yearling pacers and trotters.  I do not watch video!  It's not natural.  You see the same clip over and over again.  The owners want to have a fair shake for their money. 

The mother, Baberhood, had a very short career.  She went to Lexington with Blair Burgess training her.  I don't mind a Real Desire mare.  They have a lot of speed.  It's a great family with Three Diamonds, Leah Almahurst, and Meadow Skipper.  He was a colt who was missed.  He was a small colt, being born in the middle of June.  At that stage of life it is a big difference.  I couldn't fault his confirmation.  His confirmation was flawless.  He wasn't on my list because I thought he would be a $30,000 colt.  I wasn't lining up to buy an American Ideal colt for $30,000.  I kept my book open.  I was astonished.  I owned the colt.

Hlink:  When did you know you had something special, training him down, or the first qualifying race when he finished in 1:55.1, last half in 55.1?

DM:  He really struck me when I trained him with another top colt in 2.14.  I came off the track and said this colt is something special.  June 1st is when he first qualified.  That was the very first day for 2-year-old qualifiers in Canada.  He came home in :26, and he choked down coming halfway for home.  Chris Christoforou said, " he never saw another horse of any age ever want to go a bigger quarter in his life".

Hlink:  He made a break in his first race at Saratoga, and then at Buffalo.  Is he a better horse on a mile track than on a half mile track?

DM:  He never made a break in his life. When he made that break at Saratoga, my heart just dropped.  Jimmy actually ran over a pylon at the 3/8ths.  He's just a great horse, whether he races on a half mile or mile track.  It doesn't matter what race track it is.

Hlink:  How do you compare him with the current crop of Grand Circuit 2-year-olds?

DM:  Once the top colts go to Lexington or the Breeders Crown, somebody is going step up.  I'd step up with against anybody.  I don't think there was a colt in the Metro like he is.

Hlink:  Jimmy ( Jim Morrill Jr ) has said " he is so fast, it's unbelievable".  What has Jimmy told you about He's Watching?

DM:  Jimmy's pretty touched by the colt.  We have had a great relationship.  Over the last 3 years Jimmy and I have never been beat in a NY Sire Stake, by any colt.  He's done a great job taking care of this colt this year.  Hopefully we will have big things together next year.  He's the kind of guy who doesn't get to emotional about a horse.  He got pretty emotional about the colt in an interview after the race at Tioga.  Jim is the best driver on the planet.  I am lucky enough to have Jim in the bike.   I have a lot of confidence in him.

Hlink: Tell us about your other partners in He's Watching, Brad Gray of Dundas, Ontario and Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, Ontario.

DM:  Brad Gray would be my biggest owner.  He has enjoyed a real good ride this year.  Two years ago he owned Tea Party Princess who won the NY Divisional Championship over See You At Peelers.  He owns half of He's Watching.  The NYSS has been pretty good to Brad.  He and I have a great relationship.  This is my first year with Mike.  Mike is a super guy.  He and I are young guys.  We have a lot of fun together. Hopefully, it is a start. 

Hlink:  Everybody wants to know if the NY Sire Stakes final will be his last race this year.  Will you supplement to any of the year end Grand Circuit races after the Yonkers finale?

DM:  You can't supplement to the Breeders Crown as a 2-year-old.  The other races he could supplement to are the Matron and American National.  They are a little too late, too far, and don't go for enough money.  Nothing is carved in stone.  After the NYSS Final, we will start concentrating on next year. 

Hlink:  What are your plans for next year?

DM:  We are going right to the roof.  Everything he can be paid into next year, he will be. The Little Brown Jug, NYSS and everything big.  I am on my way to the Jug and hope we are lucky enough to be there, next year.

Hlink:  Rumor has it that you were offered a lot of money for He's Watching?  Was there any truth to this?

DM:  Every horse I have is for sale.  I just haven't got the right price for this colt, yet.  We have had some nice offers, but not enough to get a deal with anybody.  This colt is well paid for and we are enjoying the ride.

By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com

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