Day At The Track

Southwind Roulette gives goose bumps to owner

04:04 AM 09 Oct 2014 NZDT
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She might be best known for once bursting through a gaggle of geese on her way to victory at The Meadows, but co-owner Howard Taylor hopes that by the end of the season people recognize Southwind Roulette for her talent.

Southwind Roulette, who has won five of seven starts this year, races in the third of three Historic-Debutante Stakes divisions at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday. Her victories include the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and her $284,448 in purses rank No. 2 to undefeated JK She'salady among 2-year-old female pacers.

"She's a really nice filly," said Taylor, who owns Southwind Roulette with Brad Grant. "She's real long gaited. If you watch her stride, she really reaches out.

"And she wins," he added with a laugh. "And she wins a lot of money. There's nothing not to like about her."

The first division of the Historic-Debutante Stakes includes stakes-winner Ideal Nuggets. Southwind Roulette's split also includes New York Sire Stakes championship runner-up Bossers Joy.

Southwind Roulette is a daughter of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the stakes-winning mare Southwind Rio. She was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale.

She started the year with trainer Doug Lewis before moving to the barn of Ron Burke in July.

"I have a friend who has a real good eye for yearlings, Mike Hall," Taylor said. "Mike picked her out. He always finds holes in the sale, cheap horses for the breeding. He found her and told me I should buy her."

Southwind Roulette began her career by winning a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and then finished third in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes.

In her next start at The Meadows, in another PaSS division, she and driver Yannick Gingras won despite having to go through a gaggle of geese on the track just prior to the final turn.

"I talked to Doug afterward and told him I didn't believe what I saw there," Taylor said. "He told me that the farm they're on has geese. She'd seen that before and gone through them before, so she didn't think anything of it. Of all the horses in the race, she's probably the only one that would have done that. Yannick said she didn't even bat an eye. He was worried, but she wasn't."

Southwind Roulette followed that win with two more victories in the preliminary rounds of the sire stakes before capturing the championship on Sept. 6 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

She enters the Historic-Debutante after a seventh-place finish in a division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes at Hoosier Park, where she got parked in an opening :25.3 quarter-mile.

"Other than that, she's been super," Taylor said. "We have hopes for the Breeders Crown. That's all you can ask for at this point in the year, that you're still going strong and you've got a shot to get the brass ring."

GOLD CORA HOPES TO GLITTER IN ACORN

After finishing second to Jolene Jolene and Mission Brief in back-to-back world-record miles, Gold Cora's connections might wonder: Who will it be this time?

"I hope if anybody it would be us," trainer Rich Gillock said with a laugh. "It seems we're getting good at getting into those kinds of races. That's pretty tough sledding.

"But I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be second in those kinds of races."

Gold Cora races Thursday in the second of four Historic-Acorn Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia. She will start from post No. 1 with driver Tim Tetrick and is the 8-5 morning line favorite.

A daughter of stallion Encore Encore out of the mare Striking Gold K, Gold Cora has won three of 11 races and $94,098 for breeder/owner Bob Key. Gillock trained both of Gold Cora's parents and Tetrick drove Encore Encore, who won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes and finished second to Federal Flex in the 2008 Valley Victory.

"This filly has come along and she's been improving as the year progresses," Gillock said. "Hopefully we can get a piece of the pie every time and it will add up."

Gold Cora went off stride in consecutive starts in August, but since then has been a steady performer.

"I had to regroup with her and rig her a little differently," Gillock said. "She had a few little issues going on, just little things that were factors, and we got them squared away."

Gold Cora has two wins, two seconds and a third in her last five races. Her victories came in divisions of the Reynolds Stakes at Tioga Downs and the Kindergarten Series at The Red Mile.

Her remaining three on-the-board finishes during that span came in record-setting races. She finished third in a division the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes at Hoosier Park, where Speak To Me established the track mark for 2-year-old female trotters with a 1:55.2 victory.

Next, at The Red Mile, Gold Cora finished second to Jolene Jolene in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in a 1:52.1 mile that equaled the world record. A week later, she was second to Mission Brief in a division of the International Stallion Stakes in the fastest-ever mile by a 2-year-old trotter, 1:50.3.

"We stayed up tight (in the Kentuckiana) and she hadn't gone those kinds of fractions before and she just didn't get home any," Gillock said. "It was just the way that race went; it took a toll on the majority of them except the horse that won. But I think that stretched her out a little and I hope she'll keep going forward."

Following the Historic-Acorn Stakes, Gold Cora could go to Canada for the Goldsmith Maid or to Vernon Downs for the final preliminary round of the Kindergarten Series.

"We'll see how we do at (Philly) and go from there," Gillock said.

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Wild Honey is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first division of the Historic-Acorn Stakes. The Jimmy Takter-trainee has won seven consecutive starts since losing her debut by a head to Gatka Hanover. In September, she trotted the fastest mile in history by a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile racetrack, winning in 1:55.2 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio.

Takter's Shaqline, who is coming off second-place finishes in divisions of the International Stallion and Kentuckiana Stallion Management stakes, is the 8-5 choice in the third division.

Jersey Strong, trained by Mark Harder, is the 8-5 favorite in the fourth and final division. She finished second to Wild Honey in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.

by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

 

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