Rare Feat For Toscano Trotter?
Published: November 15, 2012 7:24 pm ET
Last Comment: November 16, 2012 8:37 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
While Chapter Seven gets most of the attention as the star trotter in the Linda Toscano barn, three-year-old trotting colt Market Share is on the verge of accomplishing something his stablemate could not, and has only been done three times in harness racing history.
Fresh off a 7-½ length romp in which he casually shrugged off a tough trip in last week’s $235,000 American National Stake at Balmoral Park, Richard Gutnick, TLP Stables and William Augustine’s Market Share will look for a “Windy City sweep” as he takes on seven other sophomore trotting colts in Friday’s $108,000 Galt Stake.
Currently the number four-ranked horse in North America and the leading money winner in 2012 with more than $1,947,405 million in earnings for the ownership group of Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and William Augustine, the son of Revenue S has already captured the sport’s top two events for diagonally gaited sophomores taking the $1.5 million Hambletonian and the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic this season.
With a win in the Galt, Market Share can become the fourth trotter in the history of the sport to amass $2 million in earnings in a single season joining such greats as Muscle Hill ($2.45 million in 2009), Donato Hanover ($2.33 million, 2007) and Deweycheatumnhowe ($2.21 million, 2008).
Carefully handled by trainer Linda Toscano, Market Share was unbeaten in five starts as a two-year-old -- all over the half-mile-oval at Freehold Raceway, so he should be right at home on Maywood’s half-mile track. Even though he boasted a perfect record Toscano entered the 2012 season uncertain how the colt would fare when asked to compete on the larger tracks.
“It just goes to show you what can happen when a horse gets brave and confident,” Toscano said. “He was always a sound horse, he’s always been a good-gaited horse, and all of a sudden he figured out what to do.
“I always knew he had a great work ethic, but I still wasn’t sure he’d be able to pick it up on the mile track. Once he got a taste of it and figured out what we wanted, he’s gotten stronger and stronger. He’s a classic example of what can happen when a horse gets real brave. He’s always been a fun horse to have around the barn, and to watch what he’s been able to do, I think Timmy (Tetrick) and I are both in awe.”
After his victory in Crete last Saturday night Tetrick was singing the praises of the bay colt who is scheduled to be back on the track for a four-year-old campaign in 2013.
“This horse really does better when he’s chasing horses and tonight he was first up to some very good trotters,” Tetrick admitted. “Linda and her crew have done a great job keeping this horse fresh and happy all year, and I’m looking forward to driving him in the Galt and then again as a four-year-old.”
As Toscano gets her horses ready for the final full weekend of stakes action this season, she also is getting ready to see the final chapter written in what has been a career year.
Toscano trains three horses in U.S. harness racing's Top 10 poll: No. 1-ranked Chapter Seven, who saw his career come to an end with a win in last weekend’s American-National Stakes for older trotters at Balmoral Park; No. 4 the aforementioned Market Share; and No. 10 Heston Blue Chip, who will be in action in Sunday’s Progress Pace at Dover Downs. She also sends stakes-winner Bettors Edge to the Progress Pace.
Her stable has posted a career-best $6.36 million in purses this year, good for fourth place among all trainers in North America, despite Toscano making her fewest starts (429) since 2006. Her previous high for purses was $3.71 million, set last season.
“It’s really just been an incredible year,” Toscano said. “I only hope to do half as much as we’ve done this year in the future.”
Heston Blue Chip has won three consecutive races, including the $555,000 Breeders Crown and last weekend’s Progress Pace preview in 1:49.3 at Dover. Overall this year, he has 12 victories in 15 starts and $795,081 in purses for owner Ken Jacobs. Heston Blue Chip is the 2-5 morning line favourite in this Sunday's Progress Pace at Dover Downs, where he will start from post five in a field of seven. Tetrick also will handle the driving duties with Heston Blue Chip.
Bettors Edge has won six of 22 races this year and earned $533,200 for breeders/owners Brittany Farms and Val D’Or Farms. He won the $250,000 Monument Circle on Nov. 3 at Indiana Downs following a third-place finish in the Breeders Crown. He also was third in the Little Brown Jug, Cane Pace and Tattersalls Pace. He will start from post two in the Progress Pace, with David Miller at the lines. He is 10-1 on the morning line after finishing fifth in the Progress Pace preview.
Both Heston Blue Chip and Bettors Edge will return to race again in 2013.
“Heston was incredibly good last week,” Toscano said. “Bettors Edge raced from the back and he was the victim of that last half (mile) so he couldn’t make up any ground. But he’s got a good post this week. He’s a bit of an overachiever right now and I hope he races up to his game.”
Chapter Seven finished his career with 20 wins in 28 starts and $1.95 million in purses. This year, he won eight of 10 races, finished second in his two defeats, and banked $1.02 million. His victories included the Breeders Crown, Nat Ray Invitational (in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 mile), the Titan Cup, Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational, American-National and Allerage Farms Open Trot. In winning the Breeders Crown, Chapter Seven joined Pine Chip, Mack Lobell and Sugarcane Hanover as the only trotters to win trophies at ages three and four.
Toscano, who became the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian, could also become the first female trainer to earn the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
“It’s an incredible honour just to be considered, but I really care more about the horses than I do about the accolades,” Toscano said. “We try to do the right things and we just hope that the right things happen. It just happened to be one of those years where the stars aligned and everything fell into place.”
(with files from Balmoral and HRC)