The lightly raced Knight Of Intrigue is a vastly improved trotter since undergoing surgery for a breathing problem (a trapped epiglottis) earlier this year, according to his trainer Rene Laarman, who sends the 4-year-old colt postward in Saturday's $638,580 Breeders Crown Trot at Mohawk.
"This horse had a lot of issues at 2 and 3, and really didn't get started racing until this year. Some of that was maturity," the Guelph native said. "But he was also entrapping his epiglottis, and after racing in the Titan Cup in New Jersey, he shipped up here and had the procedure to correct the problem. It's made a world of difference with him and he's 100 percent now."
Knight Of Intrigue faced the starting gate in only a trio of starts at 3, and this year has 18 starts under his girth coming into the Breeders Crown Trot. The son offinished third in his $40,000 Titan Cup elimination and fourth in the $200,000 Final, June 20 and 28 at The Meadowlands. After shipping north and having surgery, he enjoyed a brief respite from racing before qualifying on Aug. 15 and 22 at Mohawk, clocked in 1:56.1 And 1:54.1 for driver Rick Zeron, who will steer him on Saturday.
"He really showed that he's right on top of his game right now with those two qualifiers," stressed Laarman. "Of course, a 1:54.1 mile is a far way off from a 1:51. mile that these trotters usually go, but given the right trip, I think he'll be alright with those horses."
Knight Of Intrigue is not the type of horse his name suggests, according to Laarman, who has trained 421 winners to $8,189,418 in career earnings.
"He's a very quiet little horse and you wouldn't even know he's in the barn," the veteran trainer mused. "We trained him a couple of light trips on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday and he seems to have come out of those miles fine. He really doesn't do anything wrong and is very amicable."
To date Knight Of Intrigue has amassed $108,473 from 21 career starts, with six wins, a second and a pair of thirds. One of his best efforts came when he trotted to a 1:54.4 clocking in a $45,300 Woodruff Memorial Leg on April 30 at The Meadowlands. He followed that up with a third place finish in the $200,000 Cutler Memorial at The Big M on May 17, clocked in 1:52.4.
A $57,000 yearling purchase, Knight Of Intrigue is owned by Glenview Livestock LTD of Wallenstein, ON, who have been involved in the Standardbred industry for two decades, campaigning some 227 horses. In 2007 their stable superstar was Artriverderci-also conditioned by Laarman-who captured the $500,000 Hoosier Cup and a $46,500 leg of the Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. In 2006 Artriverderci finished fourth in the Breeders Crown freshman colt elimination with Laarman at the helm.
Laarman has been working with Standardbreds since the early 1980s, and previously trained 1997 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace elimination winner Peace Of Art, and the highly-favored Topnotcher to a runner-up finish in the 1990 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Pompano, prompting a $140.60 payoff by the winning Bays Fella, driven by Paul MacDonell. He also conditioned the toughin the early 1990s, training that blazed-faced pacer to a mark of p, 4, 1:50.2 and $1,055,176 in career earnings, and to a second place finish in the 1993 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Mohawk.
Laarman had his best season in 2007, as he scored a 30-33-21 record from 213 starts for $1,018,234 in seasonal earnings.
By Kim Rinker for the Breeders Crown