Day At The Track

Western Vintage headlines $150,000 final

05:28 PM 10 Jul 2013 NZST
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Western Vintage
Western Vintage - With Gingras at the lines for trainer Nancy Johansson
Lisa Photo

Western Vintage, unbeaten in his first two starts, headlines his New Jersey Sire Stakes Final, one of a quartet of $150,000 finals for harness racing two-year-olds on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at the Meadowlands.

The New Jersey Sire Stakes events share the spotlight with the finals of the Meadowlands Pace for three-year-old pacing colts, Mistletoe Shalee for three-year-old pacing fillies, William Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, Stanley Dancer for three-year-old trotting colts and the Delvin Miller for three-year-old trotting fillies.

Western Vintage has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the division for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings, carded as the fourth race. Driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Nancy Johansson, the son of Western Ideal – Major Harmony has earned $22,250 in two starts for owner Perry Soderberg of Hightstown, NJ.

Soderberg, a bloodstock expert, found himself falling for the colt each time he saw him, but lacking any clients for the colt, he gave in and bought the pacer for himself.

“My job is to perform yearling scouting and recommendations for [Hall of Fame trainer] Jimmy Takter and his clients,” Soderberg explained. “I also do a lot of work for [Toronto-based owners] Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, and Brittany Farm. Some of the work that I do includes yearling inspections in the spring. That's when I saw Western Vintage at Brittany for the first time and gave him high scores. When I came back in the fall, to prepare for the sales, I liked him even more. He was a very nice colt on the floor, but when I saw him in the field, that's when I really got hooked on him.

”His video was also very good and being a Western Ideal out of a great family that I knew well (Vintage Master and Great Vintage both raced for Takter), made me like the colt even more,” he continued. “I recommended him to my clients, but they were not interested, mostly due to the New Jersey Sire Stakes program not being as lucrative as others. But also because most people were set on trying to buy Somebeachsomewhere yearlings and Well Said was new and interesting. My own clients have had a lot of luck with American Ideal and were looking for colts by him to race in New York and on the Grand Circuit.”

Soderberg, who has been evaluating horses for clients since 1986, was not in the market to buy a yearling for himself.

“I did not own any horses at the time but had a few ideas to buy a couple of race horses later in the fall to race at the Meadowlands during the winter,” Soderberg said. “But when this colt came in to the ring, I kept an eye on him because I liked everything about him. They did not get a bid. He did have a scar on one of the hind ankles that probably scared people away, and he may have been just below average in height. I bid $3,000, and it was quiet, but then someone woke up and bid against, so I ended up paying $7 000 for him.”

Soderberg did not buy the colt to resell. He wanted to have a couple of horses to own, follow while they trained and raced, and just “have for fun.” His plan was to buy ready-to-race horses for whom there are no stakes payments, they race for good money and they race year round. Toward that end, he also bought Rocky Mountain Guy at the January mixed sale.

“But circumstances made me buy this horse - Western Vintage,” he noted.

For the Swedish-born Soderberg, these were the first pacers he had ever owned.

And now he needed a trainer to oversee the preparation of Western Vintage for his racing career.

“When I bought Western Vintage, I had no clue who would train him,” he recalled. “My longtime friend and business partner, Jimmy Takter, would be my first choice for most any horse, but his daughter Nancy Johansson texted me as soon as she saw that I had bought a yearling. She said that she wanted to train him, but she was just starting out on her own and did not even know where she would be training. So I turned him out for five weeks at Brittany [Farms] while Nancy worked on setting up shop.

“She chose Joie De Vie Farm in [Jobstown,] NJ, and I sent Western Vintage to her after the Harrisburg Sale in November,” Soderberg said. “I have always had the highest respect for Nancy and her husband Marcus's skills and devotion. They have worked with the best horses in the world at Jimmy Takter's barn, they know what it takes and just like Jimmy, Nancy doesn’t ever leave any stone unturned.

“I also enjoy a smaller barn for my own two horses since I can show up any time, see my horses, have lunch with the family and talk about most anything,” he explained. “It is just a pleasant experience to own horses like that. Nancy will soon move into a brand new barn with nice paddocks, and I am sure that she will be ready at the yearling sales this coming fall.

“They don't want to expand too much, so space will be limited,” he added, musing. “I hope they have room for another yearling from me as well.”

It is still early in the career of Western Vintage, and Soderberg, a former trainer, is cautiously optimistic. So far, the horse evaluator likes what he sees.

“Western Vintage is a medium sized horse with a lot of power and flawless gait,” he said. “Since day one, he has been talented and with a great attitude. What makes him really good, I think, is that he is complete. Not only has he high speed, he is strong and has not been tired a single time in his life, yet. There are many good horses out there, so we have to wait and see how it pans out, but I really like this colt.”

After the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final, Western Vintage will have a few weeks off before heading to Canada.

“He is staked to the big ones, this year and next,” said Soderberg. “We all need some luck!”

The New Jersey Sire Stakes fields with sire, early driver, trainer and morning lines:

2nd Race -- $150,000 NJSS FINAL – 2YO TROTTING FILLIES

1-My Inspiration, Chocolatier, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 5-1

2-Pacific Winds K, Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Paul Reid, 2-1

3-Southwind Confetti, Muscle Hill, Corey Callahan, Linda Toscano, 20-1

4-Alwaysinblackpedia, Muscle Hill, Ron Pierce, Jonas Czernyson, 15-1

5-Ravine, Muscle Hill, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart, 8-1

6-Chocolate Crisp, Chocolatier, David Miller, Linda Toscano, 12-1

7-Dancing For Money, Muscles Yankee, Yannick Gingras, Paula Wellwood, 3-1

8-Cee Bee Yes, Muscles Yankee, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 4-1

3rd Race -- $150,000 NJSS FINAL – 2YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS

1-Chocolate Day, Chocolatier, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 8-1

2-Hill I Am, Muscle Hill, Corey Callahan, Dennis A. Laterza, 2-1

3-Sumatra, Muscles Yankee, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2

4-Angels Ransom, Revenue, David Miller, Roland Mallar, 15-1

5-Muscles Midas, Muscle Hill, Marcus Johansson, Deborah Brunet, 15-1

6-Quikwit, Muscle Hill, Jim Morrill Jr., Staffan Lind, 15-1

7-Southwind Spirit, Muscle Hill, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1

8-Muscle On It, Muscle Hill, John Campbell, Chris Ryder, 12-1

9-Well Built, Muscle Hill, Chris Ryder, Chris Ryder, l8-1

10-Musclesprinctonian, Muscle Hill, Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell, 12-1

4th Race -- $150,000 NJSS FINAL – 2YO PACING COLTS & GELDINGS

1-Beat The Drum, Tell All, Tim Tetrick, Staffan Lind, 6-1

2-Western Vintage, Western Ideal, Yannick Gingras, Nancy Johansson, 8-5

3-Doo Wop Hanover, Rocknroll Hanover, David Miller, Steve Elliott, 12-1

4-Caviart Chase, Tell All, Ron Pierce, Gary Green, 15-1

5-Unadorned Hanover, Cam’s Card Shark, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 20-1

6-In The Clear, Western Ideal, Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert, 9-2

7-Rock N Roll Legacy, Rocknroll Hanover, Mike Lachance, Larry Remmen, 10-1

8-Sweet Rock, Rocknroll Hanover, John Campbell, Larry Remmen, 4-1

9-Shark Leap Hanover, Cam’s Card Shark, Corey Callahan, Bruce Saunders, 15-1

6th Race -- $150,000 NJSS FINAL – 2YO PACING FILLIES

1-Ideal Helen, Western Ideal, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 3-1

2-Danielles All Aces, Cam’s Card Shark, Andrew McCarthy, Aaron Lambert, 10-1

3-My Lady Day, Western Ideal, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 8-1

4-Boxed Chocolates, Rocknroll Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Todd La Fountaine, 15-1

5-I Need Hotstuff, Rocknroll Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, 20-1

6-Cut A Deal, Rocknroll Hanover, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder, 12-1

7-Surfside Sexy, Rocknroll Hanover, Ron Pierce, Mark Harder, 12-1

8-Bolt Of Thunder, Rocknroll Hanover, John Campbell, Larry Remmen, 6-1

9-Fiyonce, Rocknroll Hanover, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 9-2

10-Rockingcam Park, Rocknroll Hanover, Andy Miller, Ron Coyne Jr., 5-2

by Carol HODES for SBOANJ

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