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‘Looooooooooou’ Turning Heads

Published: November 27, 2013 4:12 pm ET

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Mark Horner is the first to admit that he’s not a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but when he hears the name Franceschetti, he can’t help but get excited.

Franceschetti, a four-year-old gelding who is named after the veteran NHLer Lou Franceschetti, has recorded back-to-back wins at Woodbine Racetrack, including a victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace this past Saturday.

Horner, who trains a stable of 22, is certainly enjoying the thrills that ‘Lou,’ the pacer, has provided.

“It’s certainly been a great ride so far in his career,” Horner said. “These past few weeks have certainly been special. From winning in a career best (1:49.1) two starts ago, to winning the Preferred is pretty awesome.”

Woodbine (Nov. 16, 2013) – Franceschetti (1:49.1)

The son of Mach Three has made 17 trips to the winner’s circle from 47 starts and has banked $230,470 in his career.

This season alone, the four-year-old has won eight of 21 starts and recently surpassed $100,000 in purse earnings on the year.

He’ll look to continue his good form in the $34,000 Open event at Woodbine this Saturday, November 30.

But, things were not always so promising for the son of Mach Three.

After some strong racing with nine wins at two and three, Horner planned to give his pupil a rest in preparation for the Molson Pace held at Western Fair last May.

“That’s what the plan was,” he said. “We were aiming him for that, but then he got sick on us. It was a lung infection and we couldn’t get him healthy in time and we lost four months. We had to take him to Cornell University and they were able to diagnose the problem and get him cleaned up.”

Woodbine (Nov. 23, 2013) – Franceschetti (1:51.3)

Now, one year later, Horner will once again have his eyes set on the Molson Pace, the premier event near his St Mary’s home.

“We’ll race him all winter because he had a nice break in the summer, but he might get February off depending on the weather,” Horner said. “We’d like to prep him again for the ‘Molson’ and we’ll also pay him into a few other top stakes next year for older pacers.”

Now what about other Franceschetti, the player? He of the 493 NHL games played and 59 career goals, including 21 with 1989-90 Toronto Maple Leafs.

“We didn’t name the horse, but I remember the player,” Horner said, of Franceschetti. “Since I’m not a Leaf fan, it doesn’t matter to me, but he was a good player. Luckily for us, he’s even a better horse.”

Franceschetti, the horse, certainly made a bold statement this past Saturday at Woodbine with his recent victory against the best free-for-all pacers in Canada.

“He always showed that kind of speed and he loves a helmet to follow,” Horner said. “If you provide him with a target, he’ll track it all day, that’s just the type of horse he is. Beating those types of animals is something not to take lightly.

“He’s not a flashy animal, but he’s got a nice size to him with a powerful rear-end and that’s where the engine comes from,” Horner continued.

When Franceschetti enters the Woodbine paddock on race night, you can expect to Horner, and his wife, Stephanie, in attendance.

“Stephanie sure does deserve a lot of the credit,” Mark admits. “She works hard on him all week, is a big supporter and the results have spoken.”

Come Saturday night, both Mark and Stephanie will hope the cries of ‘Looooooooooou’ will come down on Woodbine for Franceschetti, the horse, like they did at Maple Leaf Gardens once, for Franceschetti, the player.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Woodbine, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Woodbine Racetrack.

(WEG)


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