Day At The Track

Stormin Normand looks to conquer his foes

11:30 PM 20 Jun 2012 NZST
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Stormin Normand
Stormin Normand - knocked three ticks from the stake mark

After watching Stormin Normand and Googoo Gaagaa become the only 3-year-old trotters in history to win in less than 1:52 on a five-eighths-mile track in their Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elimination races last week, trainer Jim Campbell was asked whether the world record was in jeopardy again in Saturday's (June 23) $500,000 final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

But for Campbell, who trains Stormin Normand, the only number that really matters is "one," as in first place.

"(The world record) is a possibility, but that's something I don't think about," Campbell said. "I just think about having my horse ready and hopefully he can do the best he can do. The times are nice, but in the end they're irrelevant. It's where you finish that counts. I'd be just as happy winning slower. It pays the same way."

Stormin Normand, who won his Beal elimination by a half-length over Uncle Peter in 1:51.4, will start the final from post four with driver Dave Palone. Googoo Gaagaa, who established the world record of 1:51.3 with his elim victory, leaves from post six with regular pilot Corey Callahan.

Last season, Stormin Normand finished second in his career debut, losing by a head in a division of the Reynolds Memorial Stakes, before winning his remaining six starts of the campaign. He was the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, winning the title at Pocono Downs, and earned $269,643 for owner Fashion Farms.

The Beal elim was the 3-year-old son of Broadway Hall's second start of this season. Previously, he finished second to Uncle Peter in a division of the sire stakes at The Meadows.

"He ended up cutting the mile and Uncle Peter had a nice trip," Campbell said. "It took Uncle Peter the whole length of the stretch to get by him; I was very happy with that for his first start. He had the outside post (No. 7) that day, so he had to go forward a little bit. Ideally, it would've been nice to follow Uncle Peter, but it didn't work out.

"We're here to race now. The only way they're going to get tight is to race them. I was happy with that start and very pleased with his performance Friday night."

Googoo Gaagaa was bred by Richard Hans, who also owns and trains the colt. Googoo Gaagaa's sire is the pacing stallion Cam's Rocket and his mother is the trotting mare Kora's Trotter. Hans' family owns Cam's Rocket and he paired the two after Kora's Trotter failed to get in foal to a trotting stallion. Hans offhandedly named the colt because he figured he was unlikely to get to the races.

Instead, Googoo Gaagaa became a sensation at Ocean Downs last year, winning all six of his starts including a 41 length victory in the Maryland Sire Stakes championship. His time of 1:56 set the world record for 2-year-old trotters on a half-mile oval. This year, the colt has won four of five races, including a division of the Simpson Memorial Stakes at the Meadowlands.

The Beal final also includes New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Little Brown Fox and Frost Bites K, who won a division of the Currier & Ives and was second in the Dexter Cup.

"It's a very tough group of 3-year-olds," Campbell said. "It's probably going to be one of those races where whoever gets the trip will probably end up winning."

Following is the field in post position order for Saturday's $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Pocono Downs, with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Magic Tonight, Brian Sears, Noel Daley; 2. Nothing But Class, Jimmy Takter, Takter; 3. Frost Bites K, Tim Tetrick, Richard Gillock; 4. Stormin Normand, Dave Palone, Jim Campbell; 5. Lightning Storm, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson; 6. Googoo Gaagaa, Corey Callahan, Richard Hans; 7. Uncle Peter, Ron Pierce, Takter; 8. Little Brown Fox, Yannick Gingras, Takter; 9. My MVP, Mike Lachance, Tony Alagna.

by Ken WINGARTNER

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

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