Self Professed, who's 9-2 from post four in the World Trotting Derby, hasn't raced since the August 6 Hambletonian, but trainer Don Swick feels the gelding is sharp and ready to go.
"He had a good rest after the Hambletonian; I knew the way his spring is wound he'd need a rest at around this time, so the plan was to rehab him a bit, give him some rest, maybe some vet work. He didn't need the vet work.
I wanted him to qualify him at The Red Mile on Friday, but they got rained out and then again on Saturday." Swick ended up going with Plan B - a training mile with top older trotter Mr. Muscleman, who will compete in the Breeders Crown in Canada this Saturday evening.
"We went behind the gate (starting gate) because Noel says he needs that or he just won't train fast; we ended up going in 1.52.3 and Self Professed was right on his wheel.
People watching said it looked like they were going in 2.10, it was just effortless.
It gave Tyler (Stillings) who will be driving Self Professed for the first time on Saturday) a chance to drive him, get some confidence in his speed and his gait.
He was right on his back in the first turn and about halfway down the backstretch, he got up to his (Mr. Muscleman's) wheel and just stayed there.
They came the last quarter in 27 seconds. That was really great for him because every race, he's either been parked to the quarter, parked to the half or parking someone. This time he got to sit in and follow.
elf Professed has had some problems dealing with the heat in the past, but Swick thinks that issue is now a non issue.
"We tried some different things, some from an article I read on the internet and some from an article in Canadian Sportsman (a racing trade magazine). We're bathing him in cold water and no blanketing him. He blows out (stops hard breathing) in 15 minutes."
The new bathing regimen has had a good secondary effect, too, said Swick.
"Since we starting the cold water baths, his appetite has leaped. He put weight on and I'm just very happy with where he's at."
wick is impressed with the two supplemental entries to the Trotting Derby. "Great George is a rocket fast horse out of the gate and with a short field, Roger (driver of favorite Vivid Photo) could have everything his way. The pressure's on Roger."
Joel Smith thinks his filly, Silhouette Star, may be ready at just the right time for the World Trotting Derby filly race on Friday and owner/breeder Patricia Jenks put up a $5000 fee to supplement her.
She won in a (career best) 1.54.2 in Springfield (to win an Illinois-bred State Fair Final) and then she was in a 12 horse field here on Monday. She managed to be second, even though she was boxed in the whole way," said Smith, while grazing the daughter ofoutside the Hayes barn.
"She seems to be getting better and better and we were here anyway. She's a friendly filly and she's very versatile. You can take her back, go to the front, she'll do whatever you want. The owner bred and raised her.
Courtesy Of Harness Racing Communications, A Division of the United States Trotting Association