Louisville, KY --- Even before they purchased him for $13,000 at this past January's Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale, the 3-year-old trotting gelding Wheelsandthelegman had made quite an impression on Beth and Walter Carroll.
Unraced at 2, Wheelesandthelegman jumped it off at the top of the stretch in his first qualifier as a 3-year-old on Jan. 10 at the Meadowlands, but still managed to come home third ahead of trainer Walter Carroll’s horse Spectator K.
Carroll took note of that performance and although Wheelsandthelegman broke behind the gate in his second qualifier the following week, he and his wife, Beth, still thought enough of the gelding to purchase him at the Sale last January.
“Walter had his eye on him ever since he qualified and when we saw him at the sale, we both liked him,” Beth Carroll said. “We didn’t know why he had not raced last year but he had absolutely no issues.”
The Carrolls did not have super high expectations for the son of Donato Hanoverand the Malabar Man mare Carmita, but after two qualifying contents at Spring Garden Ranch in March and April, they brought him back to Pennsylvania to get his career started. That was when the couple began to realize their horse possessed some serious ability.
“The winter was horrible here (in New Holland, Pa.) so we missed a lot of time with him,” Carroll said. “So we sent him down to our good friend Jim Raymer at Spring Garden Ranch for five weeks. Then when he won his first race we started to get really excited about him.”
With Raymer in the irons, Wheelsandthelegman, named after the alter ego crime fighting duo from American Dad, captured his first three races, all non-winners events, before triumphing in a $74,900 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes contest at Harrah’s Philadelphia on May 15.
His next engagement, a third to Hambletonian second place finisher Nuncio in another Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on May 30, would be his first time tasting defeat.
After a little time off, Wheelsandthelegman got back to the winners’ circle on July 17 in a $13,000 non-winners race at Harrah’s Philadelphia prior to another victory in a $32,855 division of the Arden Downs stake at The Meadows on July 26, where he defeated Il Sogno Dream, the fourth place finisher in the Hambletonian, in 1.54.1.
Although he did not compete in the Hambletonian, the gelding did make an appearance on that day in a $50,000 Townsend Ackerman division where he finished off the board for the only time in his short career. Wheelsandthelegman was sixth but placed 11th after leaving from the nine hole and he seemingly was not particularly fond of the Meadowlands oval.
“It was a tough trip for him against some really nice horses and that fast first quarter (:27.1) certainly did not help him, but he does have really good gate speed,” Carroll said. “He also didn’t seem to be getting over the track very well and he had been sick the week before. He got stung by something and we don’t know how or by what, but he was all swollen. That might have still been affecting him a little bit.”
The gelding, however, will attempt to return to his winning ways when he leaves from post position two in a $60,000 division of the Currier and Ives Stake on Friday (Aug. 8) at the Meadows. Dick Stillings will be holding the lines rather than Raymer for the card’s eighth race. Wheelsandthelegman is the 3-1 morning line second choice. His lifetime mark of 1:53.4 and bankroll of just over $88,000 is tops in the field of six.
“We are very good friends with Jim Raymer,” Carroll said. “He and his wife Terry are wonderful people and we are very grateful every time Jim drives him for us. We also feel lucky for all they have done for us. Jim really likes this horse and I think he likes driving him more than some of his own horses.”
Named for a television character, Wheelsandthelegman definitely has some personality to him.
“He’s bossy,” Carroll said. “But he’s not mean at all. He’s really just a very busy horse and is always in motion. He’s always doing something and is never still for a second.”
After the Currier & Ives is in the books, the Carrolls will keep Wheelsandthelegman in Pennsylvania for the remainder of the year and then shut him down in the fall.
“He has the PA Sire Stakes and hopefully he makes the final,” Carroll said. “Then he has the Keystone Classic. After that we are just going to give him a nice, long break over the winter and take it from there.
“We were really surprised by him and are just thrilled. Although we didn’t name him, it is something to have a horse that even has his own ringtone.”
Below are the fields for Friday's Currier & Ives divisions.
$60,000 Currier & Ives First Division
1-Amped Up Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5-2
2-Wheelsandthelegman-Richard Stillings-Walter Carroll-3-1
3-Jett Star-Dan Rawlings-Steve Owens-5-1
4-Choco Sun-David Miller-Orjan Torstensson-6-1
5-Frost Free Hanover-Brian Zendt-Leslie Zendt-7-2
6-Axios-Dave Palone-Rich Gillock-4-1
$60,000 Currier & Ives Second Division
1-Tea Party Politics-Brian Zendt-William Zendt-5-1
2-Skates N Plates-Yannick Gingras-Trond Smedshammer-4-1
3-Sarcastic Man-Tony Hall-Rich Gillock-8-1
4-Il Sogno Dream-David Miller-Christopher Beaver-2-1
5-Southwind Spirit-Dave Palone-Ron Burke-7-2
6-Andover The Gold-Brett Miller-J C Miller Jr.-10-1
by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent