Cam's Card Shark, one of the leading stallions of his generation, has just been retired from stud duty, but hopes are high in Ohio that one of his greatest progeny can carry on his dynamic legacy in the breeding shed. Shark Gesture, whose earnings in excess of $2.8 million are the most of the more than 1,700 racehorses that Cam's Card Shark sired and one of the fastest with a speed mark of 1:48.1s, will be represented by a crop of two-year-olds this season. Abby Stables in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is standing the big, dark brown stallion. "Shark Gesture is the total package," Abby Stables' Teresa Maddox told Harness Racing Update." Shark Gesture developed into a horse for the ages. A $110,000 yearling purchase by Norm Smiley, Shark Gesture raced from two to four, posting some impressive victories. He was retired to the breeding shed due to an injury and stood as a stallion in Ontario for the 2008 season. Later that year, when the injury had fully healed and he trained excellently, Shark Gesture returned to the races and started three times. But it was as a six- and seven-year-old that he excelled, earning over $1.8 million. He beat some of the best aged pacers, including the likes of Foiled Again, Mister Big, Art Official, Boulder Creek, Artistic Fella, Shadow Play and Won The West 12 times, including by more than 10 lengths in the Hoosier Cup. Maddox said because Shark Gesture disappeared from the breeding scene for three years people may be confused about his history. "He really hasn't gotten a fair shake as a stallion," Maddox said. "If you go back and look at some of his races, he was phenomenal. He's well-mannered, he's intelligent and was a bear on the racetrack. It's just a breath of fresh air to have him in Ohio. We welcomed him with open arms." Shark Gesture can be seen in action on his page at www.abbystables.com . His web page comes complete with race footage, photos, pedigree, articles and both a downloadable and digital breeding contract. "There is no reason because he had 44 foals that raced from his first and only crop as a stallion, standing in Ontario and bred to mostly Ontario-bred mares, that people should have forgotten about him because he went back to the races," said Smiley. "He is still a good horse. This year he has two-year-olds that are training and I've got good reports on them. Trainer Fred Grant has a colt by Shark Gesture out of Boca Babe. Fred owns the dam and owns a piece of the colt and said, 'he's very good-gaited, very sound, very willing and has lots of speed. I just love him.'" Trainer David Miller, currently training a two-year-old Shark Gesture filly named Hex, described her as a "big, strong, great-gaited, intelligent filly who is showing excellent speed." Another trainer, Jenny Melander, has a nice sturdy black filly named When Sharks Fly and echoed Miller's comments about Shark Gesture's offspring. "His foals are big and sturdy, with heart, speed, intelligence and strength," she said. Shark Gesture is truly an anomaly. How many horses return to the races two years after retiring and earn almost twice as much, facing battled-hardened competitors? In total, he posted 31 sub-1:50 miles, 16 of those 1:49 or better and four of those sub-1:49. As a 2-year-old, he won the Bluegrass Stakes (recording a freshman mark of 1:51.3), the Simpson Stakes and an elimination of the Breeders Crown. At three, he won the Breeders Crown, the Tattersalls Pace (with a sophomore speed mark of 1:49.1), the Bluegrass Stakes, the Simpson Stakes and the Progress Pace. In an abbreviated four-year-old season, he won the New Hampshire Sweepstakes. In his return to the races, he won the William R. Haughton Memorial two years in a row, the Canadian Pacing Derby Final (with a lifetime mark of 1:48.1), the Graduate Series twice, the Dan Patch Invitational Pace and the Bettor's Delight. He broke track records at Tioga Downs and Hoosier Park and tied the track record when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby. "He's won all the big races, beat all the good horses," Maddox said. "He beat Foiled Again (the top aged pacer last year) more than once. He beat Won The West. He's beat them all at one point or another. His owners believed in him so much, they told us the story (of why he retired and then returned to the races) and it was just a no-brainer for us." 2010 Graduate Final William R. Haughton Memorial Smiley recalled why he bought Shark Gesture. Even though he was big and growthy, Smiley liked him, viewing him six times. "There are certain horses you go to the auction and put a price on and you go to that price or a few bucks more," Smiley said. "With him I said I was buying him, period." Smiley subsequently offered shares to his brother, Gerald, and Thomas and Louis Pantone. Typical of a Cam's Card Shark offspring, Shark Gesture grew into his body from two to three. He stood about 17 hands high and had a long stride. Early in Shark Gesture's two-year-old season, he won the Bluegrass in 1:51 3/5, but he was still developing and growing. As a three-year-old, he did some amazing things, none more so than winning the Breeders Crown only a week after he fell down in a mishap in his elimination race for the final. He finished third and was moved up to second, but Norm Smiley and trainer Erv Miller feared the colt might not survive the accident. Once the bike and equipment were removed, Shark Gesture stood up and walked off as if nothing had happened, although he did have some cuts and abrasions. Driver Brian Sears, Miller, Smiley and the horse's vet shook their heads in disbelief. "If that's not a tough horse, I don't know what is," Smiley said. A week later, he won the Breeders Crown with George Brennan, who would become his principle driver, steering him in what was a clean trip, racing on or near the pace. "Nobody knew that horse like Georgie," Smiley said. "George was tremendous with that horse from the first time he drove him." Shark Gesture raced only eight times in an abbreviated four-year-old season and was retired, his notable victory in the New Hampshire. Some of the notable offspring from the 32 starters from his first crop as a sire include stakes winner Piston Broke, 1:49.2s ($291,131) and Best Ears, 1:49.4f, ($188,483). After Shark Gesture recovered from his injury and trained solidly, Norm Smiley made the decision to bring the horse back to the races. It would prove to be a shrewd decision. In 2009 at the age of six, Shark Gesture came into his own, racing 29 times and winning seven, including the Haughton Memorial and Canadian Pacing Derby and topping all pacers with more than $900,000 in earnings. At age seven, he raced 12 times and winning seven, notably the Graduate, Bettors Delight, Dan Patch (by a whopping 10½ lengths), and repeating in the Haughton. He finished second by a length in the Franklin. He was retired at the end of the season. "He was just amazing," Norm Smiley said. "This horse never got the respect he deserved. He was a tremendous racehorse." By Perry Lefko, for Harness Racing Update
One of Canada’s harness racing greats is coming ‘Down Under’. Rick Zeron left Canada bound for Perth, via Dubai, last night (Tuesday). He and his wife of 34 years, Joyce, will return to Oakville in Ontario on March 4. As at Tuesday (February 4), Zeron had driven 7,711 winners ($103 million) from 46,454 starters and trained a further 2,120 ($27 million) more from 8,916 attempts. “I’m going to visit friends in Perth and then we will be heading to Sydney. There is a good chance we will attend the Inter Dominion grand final. “New Zealand is also a possibility because we know that is a very beautiful country. It would be great to see how both countries operate their racing,” Zeron said. The 57-year-old said he had never been to New Zealand and Australia. “It’s been a life-time goal. My wife and I had planned to head down there in five or six years, but I said to her, ‘what the hell’, let’s do it now. We are really excited about it,” Zeron said. Zeron shifted from Connaught Park to Blue Bonnets in 1982 and soon established himself as one of Quebec’s top driver, winning the Blue Bonnets driving premiership seven times from 1986-1994. For seven consecutive years he was also the leading stakes earner seven times and top UDR strike rate driver on five occasions. In 1995 he moved to the Woodbine and Mohawk circuits and has been one of their top reinsmen ever since. His Little Brown Jug (Michael’s Power, 2012) winning son, Scott, is now one of Canada’s best reinsman, and recently moved to New Jersey to further his name at the surrounding big tracks like the Meadowlands. On March 21 last year he became the youngest driver in history to win 2,000 races. He was just two months shy of his 24th birthday. His father explained why he believed his son was so good in the sulky: “I told him if you ever get a chance to put a good horse in the race, do exactly that, but if you are driving a poor horse I said to him to sit back and run on late and try and get a cheque for the owners. “I also told him if I ever saw him flogging a horse with his stick like a crazed monkey he would never make it in the game.” That epitomises why Zeron senior has made his name in North American harness racing circles. Last year he drove 106 winners ($3 million) and trained 43 ($959,921). Zeron has no driving assignments in Australia or New Zealand. Zeron’s major wins include (with years in brackets): CANADIAN TROT CLASSIC (96) Classic Adam CASUAL BREEZE (04) Sunshinenlollipops CHAMPLAIN STAKE (90) Prudhomme (98) Blissfull Hall (02) Moma’s Millionaire (02) Boulder Creek (03) Character Counts (05) Majestic Son (07) Intimidator (07) If And Only If (08) Hibbler COLONIAL LADY (00) Hornby Jean DYGERT MEMORIAL (95) Tak The Tuk FRANK RYAN MEMORIAL (06) Stiletto GENERAL BROCK FINAL (96) Yentls Iceman (04) Deadmans Curve HARVEST (03) Character Counts MAPLE LEAF TROT (98) Hanko Angus ROBERT STEWART MEM. (95) SOS Ninja SIMCOE STAKE (90) Osgood Hanover (96) Look Whos Cumin (99) Hawaiian Dancer (00) Ladys A President (03) EZ Past (07) Hagi By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
If Boulder Creek can pull off the upset in the $125,000 Presidential Saturday night, driver Dan Dube will have the distinction of winning the race with the two richest male pacers of all time.
Boulder Creek emerged from the fog victorious in Saturday night's $24,000 Preferred Pace feature at the Meadowlands. Owned by Larry Baron, the eight-year-old war-horse was positioned in third early, powered to the lead as the field approached the far turn, and gamely withstood the strong late pace of Winbak Speed [$3.80] for his 41st career victory.
World champion Boulder Creek outlasted a late bid from Four Starz Sue to take this week's Open Handicap Pace at Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, while My Perfect Rhyme, and Green Day were also victorious in their Open events.
Seventeen of harness racing’s greatest pacing stars – including nine millionaires - have been entered in two $50,000 eliminations for the Ben Franklin stake at Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack on Sunday, June 8. The first four finishers in each elimination will return for the rich $500,000 Franklin final on Sunday, June 15.
Earlier tonight (September 9) the post position draw for the 26th Des Smith Classic Pace took place and triple millionaire Boulder Creek was the winner of the draw when he drew the rail.
Joseph Alborano’s Artistic Fella put the finishing touches on a special day for trainer Steve Elliott as driving phenom Tim Tetrick drove the four-year-old son of Pacific Fella to a gate to wire winning effort in the Breeders Crown Pace in 1:49.2 in the final of the four Breeders Crown events at Mohawk Raceway.
The connections of older pacing superstars Lis Mara and Boulder Creek weighed in today, commenting on the showdown which will take place during Saturday's $540,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Mohawk Racetrack.
Although he has 20 wins and $1.4 million in earnings to his credit, Artistic Fella might be considered an unfinished work. The eager and willing pacer is still learning to race. The speed and natural talent are unquestioned. (August 26, 2007)
Several of the older pacers set to contest this Saturday's $650,000 Haughton Memorial final have Canadian connections, and Trot Insider's got a look at those contenders with their career highlights.
Allergies and other ailments might have had Lis Mara off his game earlier this month, but he resumed his winning ways with a monstrous mile in the first of two $50,000 eliminations for the William R. Haughton Memorial on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
A “Who’s Who” of older pacers makes up the list of eligibles to the 2007 Winbak Farm Pace to be raced Jug Day afternoon, Thursday, September 20th at the Delaware, OH County Fair.
John Fodera has been in harness racing since the early 1960s but oddly enough lately he has earned the nickname of 'The First Time Man.' (June 24, 2007)
Overlooked in all the racing excitement from Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup was the fact that Boulder Creek has - at least temporarily - surpassed Peaceful Way as the all-time richest Canadian-sired standardbred.
Mohawk Racetrack will play host to the four $250,000 (USD) Finals on Saturday night; part of a blockbuster card that will offer purses in excess of $3.5 million. All four of the Classic races will be contested at the route distance of a mile and three-eighths.