San Pail Out Of Maple Leaf Trot
Published: July 4, 2012 10:56 am ET
Last Comment: July 5, 2012 1:14 pm ET | 9 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
Trainer Rod Hughes has told Trot Insider that the decision to pull three-time Maple Leaf Trot winner San Pail out of the running for the 2012 edition of the classic trotting event has been "pretty much heartbreaking."
Hughes told Trot Insider that San Pail, the revered San Pellegrino gelding that took Horse of the Year honours on both sides of the border last season, has had an uphill battle this year due to sickness. Those problems were compounded during the gelding's last qualifying mile (at Mohawk Racetrack on June 22).
"He's been fighting sickness on and off since the Glorys Comet and he's just not 110 per cent right now," Hughes told Trot Insider. "I've always been a big believer of putting him first and not racing him unless he's 'all systems go.'
"With his on-and-off sickness, he was forced to miss two or three speed training sessions, which put him behind where we wanted him to be at this point."
Even though the eight-year-old has recorded two wins from four starts this year and trotted in 1:51.3, San Pail hasn't been right as of late, and the June 22 qualifying mile ultimately changed his timetable for the coming weeks.
"He had quite a time in his qualifier at Mohawk a few weeks ago," Hughes said of the 1:58.3, fifth-place performance. "He ending up blowing a shoe, which led to him getting on a line and touching an area on his leg where he had spun the trotting boot around. To make a long story short, we had him checked out afterward and he suffered a slight injury to the area."
2011 Maple Leaf Trot - San Pail - 1:51.1
To the ire of former neigh-sayers, Hughes has always stuck by his convictions in regard to where and when to race the 51-time career winner who has banked over $3 million and taken a mark of 1:50.4. Based on San Pail's performances, Hughes' decisions have been validated in full. He is confident that this decision will be just like the rest.
"I was just saying this morning at home that I have a lot of mixed emotions with him not going for a fourth Maple Leaf Trot in a row --- it's pretty much heartbreaking," Hughes told Trot Insider. "I always put him first, so the decision is an easy one to make, but it is hard to take the Maple Leaf Trot off his radar because he's proved that when he's 110 per cent he can go with anyone.
"Hopefully there will be another Maple Leaf Trot in 2013 and he will have the opportunity to capture his fourth title then."