Day At The Track

The story book tale of Googoo Gaagaa

11:51 PM 25 Jun 2012 NZST
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Richard Hans & Corey Callahan celebrate Googoo Gaagaa
Richard Hans & Corey Callahan celebrate - in the winner's circle with Googoo Gaagaa after the Beal win
USTA/Ken Weingartner photo
Googoo Gaagaa - world record holder!

When the trotter Rosalind won the Hambletonian in 1936, her victory combined with the story of her young owner, Gibson White, recovering from serious illness became the inspiration for a children's harness racing book titled 'Born to Trot.'

Seventy-six years later, one of Rosalind's descendants is in the process of creating another storybook tale. Despite his unorthodox origin, Googoo Gaagaa appears to have been born to trot as well.

Although his sire is a pacer, Googoo Gaagaa has established multiple world records as a trotter. On Saturday night (June 23), the 3-year-old colt won the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in 1:50.4. The time is the fastest ever by a trotter on a five-eighths-mile track.

Last season, Googoo Gaagaa trotted the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old on a half-mile track when he won the Maryland Sire Stakes championship by 41 lengths in 1:56 at Ocean Downs.

Sired by Cam's Rocket, Googoo Gaagaa has won 11 of 12 career races for Richard Hans, who bred, owns and trains the colt. Hans' family owns Cam's Rocket and Hans paired the pacing stallion with his trotting mare Kora's Trotter after she failed to get in foal to a trotting stallion. The maternal side of the family includes Rosalind, who is Googoo Gaagaa's eighth dam.

"I told people this horse could absolutely fly," Hans said. "I said that a long time ago and no one believed me."

Corey Callahan was an early doubter, but became a believer after driving Googoo Gaagaa to victory in his first career race. Callahan has served as the colt's driver in all six of his races this season.

"When Richard first started telling me about him, I was like ‘C'mon man you've got to be kidding me,' so I've been eating crow now for two years," Callahan said, laughing. "And Richard reminds me of it all the time.

"This means so much to the sport," he added. "There are a lot of smaller-scale (stables) out there that just have a few horses, or small-time breeders. It's just what people need to stay in it and say, ‘You know what? That could be me one day.' I'm just very happy for everybody involved."

In the $500,000 Beal Memorial final, which was Googoo Gaagaa's first start in a race worth more than $55,000, Callahan took the colt to the front after the opening quarter-mile and held off early leader Stormin Normand in the stretch to post a 1-1/4 length win.

"My plan was to get in a spot where I could let the horse trot, whether it be on the lead or first over," Callahan said. "When I got away close, I figured I could make my move. He's a very handy horse. Even if I felt that Dave (Palone, driving Stormin Normand) was going to stretch me out a little bit, I knew once I made the lead I was going to be in good shape."

Googoo Gaagaa possesses a long stride, which receives credit from Callahan for the horse's success.

"He covers the ground so effortlessly," Callahan said. "I really think that's why he can go such fast times because he's not really working as hard as it seems. I still don't think we've found the bottom. We'll just wait and see."

Googoo Gaagaa's next start is expected to be in the Yonkers Trot, which is contested around the half-mile oval at Yonkers Raceway and is the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. Eliminations, if necessary, will be Saturday and the final is July 7.

"I know he likes a half-mile track," Hans said.

The colt is not staked to the Hambletonian or Breeders Crown, but could be supplemented to the Breeders Crown. He is eligible to the Stanley Dancer Memorial and Matron stakes.

"He's a super horse; professional in every sense of the word," Callahan said. "Everything I ask him to do, he does. I just hope this ride can continue."

by Ken WEINGARTNER, Harness racing Communications

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

Googoo Gaagaa - world record:

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