PUJOLS AIMING FOR THE BIG LEAGUE

11:39 PM 26 Jul 2005 NZST
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Whether you’re talking harness racing or baseball, Pujols has pop.

Pujols, a 2-Year-Old pacer from Illinois named after St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, has won three of four races this season.

In his most recent start, July 20 at Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago, he set the track record for horses his age by winning in 1.52.2.

His time was more than a second faster than the previous mark of 1.53.3, set by Loyal Opposition in 2002 and equalled by Pujols the week prior to his record-breaking mile.

On Friday night (July 29), Pujols will face open stakes competition for the first time when he competes in the eliminations for the $400,000 Woodrow Wilson Pace at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.

The final will be August 5.

"He does everything so easy, almost effortless," trainer Tom Harmer said.

"I really don’t know what his potential is. He is so willing to do whatever you ask him. I've driven him twice, and he’s a pleasure to drive.

“If you can’t drive this horse, you’re in trouble. He’s a push-button horse. He’s so willing to do his job and do it well. That makes a horse."

Michael Polansky recently purchased Pujols for an undisclosed sum.

Trainer Shawn Nessa, Bart Seales, Dan Meier, and Dennis Beccue previously owned him. It was Nessa, a Cardinals fan from DuQuoin, Ill., who gave the horse his name.

"I think he’s the best player in the game," Nessa said about Albert Pujols.

Pujols, the player, is batting .334 with 26 homers and 78 RBI this season.

Twice he has homered on the same day Pujols, the horse, has won a race. The other time Pujols won came during the All-Star break.

"I’ve had horse with this much speed before, but to put it out when you want and how you want is the key," Harmer said.

"He’s a handful to take care of. When he’s in his stall he's always looking for something to do. It’s like he’s saying, ‘Let's get out of here and do something.’”

Shawn Nessa did a fantastic job with him. He deserves all the credit. We’re just reaping the benefits. We’ve enjoyed it up to his point."

Courtesy Of Harness Racing Communications, A Division of the United States Trotting Association

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