After nearly four decades in the business, harness racing trainer Peter Foley can definitely spot a horse with ability and he feels his 2-year-old pupil Bolt The Duer is the most talented horse he has ever had in the barn.
"I came here from Australia 40 years ago," explained the 62-year old Salvisa, Ky., resident. "I trained horses in California for 20 years and now here in Kentucky for 20 years. He's the nicest horse I've ever trained in my life."
The son ofand the deceased mare Wonderbolt, was purchased at the 2010 Standardbred Horse Sale for $70,000 by All Star Racing. The colt has paced seven miles and triumphed six times. His victories include the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes Final in 1:52.1 and a $96,500 division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:52.2 over the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Sweet Lou, who hails from the potent Ron Burke barn. To date the colt has earned $207,350 in purse money and sports a lifetime mark of 1:51.
When Bolt The Duer crossed the finish line on September 11, he joined his older half-brother Blue Claw (Jenna's Beach Boy, $481,011, 1:49.4) and older half-sister Shanghai Lil (Jenna's Beach Boy, $998,858, 1:51.2) in the pantheon of Kentucky Sire Stakes champions. Unfortunately, Wonderbolt perished in foal toafter producing Bolt The Duer.
"The reason they bought him was because a horse named Devilfish out of Wonderbolt (her first foal) was a very fast horse," Foley said. "He almost had too much ability for his own good. Erv Miller had him and they thought he was going to pace a mile in about 1:47 or 1:48 at the Meadowlands. (His lifetime record is 1:48.3). He ended up making a break halfway through the stretch of a race and I think subsequently went lame, so he never reached his true potential.
"We've bought nearly the whole family," he continued. "Blue Claw was the first one and they gave $100,000 for him and then Shanghai Lil, who is the best filly I've ever trained and earned (nearly) a million dollars. Then there is Margarita Monday (, $2,450). I trained her down as a 2-year-old and we raced her about six times this year, but she needed time to mature, so we turned her out. I think she'll make a heck of a racehorse next year. The sad thing is Wonderbolt died in foal to , so that's the end of the line."
Bolt The Duer's next engagement is in an $83,850 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile this Saturday (Oct. 8). He will leave from post five and only Sweet Lou, who he defeated last week, has more money in the bank.
"We've known for a long time that he is a good horse and I think he can go with the best of them," Foley said. "I know he's not going to win every week, but he'll make some money. When he won the other night (in the Bluegrass division), he showed how good he was.
"One of the best aspects about him is he paces likes an," he continued. "He puts his head down and he keeps on giving. He's also a very laid back horse and sleeps in his stall a lot."
The only time Bolt The Duer, named for Carter Duer, the proprietor of Peninsula Farms, who produced him, failed to grace the winner's circle was in a $12,000 2-year-old race at the Meadowlands on August 13. He was interfered with in that race and finished fifth.
"It was our intention to race him as easy as we could," Foley said. "We just wanted to race him over a mile track for a learning experience. He had the 10 hole and Mike (Lachance, the colt's regular pilot) said he had plenty of horse left and he just didn't want to chase them. It was a tightener for Kentucky, as we had our eyes on the $250,000, which we accomplished."
After this weekend's coming engagement Bolt The Duer only has one more race to contest before a winter vacation.
"He's got one more race here (at The Red Mile) on Saturday and then it's the Breeders Crown," Foley said. "We're going to give him a shot up there in Toronto, then we will put him away and look forward to next year."
by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent