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Hughes On 'Pail's Sub-1:50 Shot

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Published: September 29, 2011 4:22 pm ET

Last Comment: September 30, 2011 12:52 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Harness racing fans are still waiting for the first sub-1:50 trotting mile to be recorded at the famed Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. According to trainer Rod Hughes, San Pail may be able to do it this weekend if everything goes his way.

The O'Brien Award winning son of San Pellegrino has drawn Post 5 in Saturday's $145,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot at the Red Mile. To view the fields for Saturday's Red Mile dashes, click here.

Hughes explained to the Woodbine Entertainment Group's publicity department that San Pail was given a clean bill of health before he left on Thursday to ship down to Kentucky. He also explained that having San Pail trot a sub-1:50 is not his No. 1 priority. “In my opinion, money first, sub-1:50 second,” he said.

“He seems good,” Hughes said about his three-time Maple Leaf Trot winner. “We went to Dr. Terry Ruch’s the other day just for a check-over and everything is perfect. He’s never been to Lexington, but I’m sure he will love that track. Most horses do.”

In regard to a sub-1:50 mile, Hughes said, “If the fractions set up right and he’s on his game, I think he can do it, but that’s up to Randy and ‘Pail.’ Every time Randy drives him, he always tries to leave something in the tank for next week.”

After his excursion in Kentucky, San Pail will be pointed to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack where it looks like he may butt heads with European trotting stars Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel, among others.

“I’m looking forward to heading to Woodbine,” Hughes said. “The thought of it makes me think of the Breeders Crown. Aside from the Maple Leaf Trot, that race would be a great thrill to win.”

“I don’t know too much about them,” Hughes said, referring to Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel. “I don’t follow European racing that much, but we certainly won’t overlook them. I’ve read about Commander Crowe and Rapide Lebel and I see their speed records and earnings, so I know they are legit, but all we can do is worry about our horse and have him ready.”

Looking even further down the road, Hughes told WEG that the harness racing world might not have seen the best of San Pail just yet.

“He’s still growing up. I know he’s seven, but it’s the truth. I’ve noticed a difference in him this year than last and so have other people. Next year could be his best year yet. I’m already thinking about next year’s Maple Leaf Trot. To win that four times would just be unreal.”

(With files from WEG)

September 30, 2011 - 12:52 pmHow refreshing to hear a

Erin Hackney SAID...

How refreshing to hear a trainer describe a seven year old horse as still "just growing up". As someone who is very interested in biomechanics in horses, I have studied a lot of anatomy and one thing I learned was that in horses, growth plates exist between many different joints in the body, not just those in the knees (which is the usual measure of when a horse can be started). The growth plates between vertebrae in the spine take anywhere from 5-7 years old to mature. So physically, a horse is not done growing until he is in this age range, even if he is mentally mature. Many racehorses are used up by age 7, and more often even younger. I have so much respect for the way San Pail's people have managed his career, continuing to put the horse first above everything else. I agree with Ralph - a "lesson for all".

September 29, 2011 - 8:24 pmThe "horse-first;

Ralph Sucee SAID...

The "horse-first; money-second; speed-third" approach Rod n Randy have taken with San Pail is a lesson for all. Forever, the top trainers and drivers have said that ... and the Greatest have practiced what they preached. Speed tabs are almost always dependent on trips and early fractions - I'd love to see San Pail 'out of a hole' after a 1:21 3/4's ... scary to think where he might go. But that's academic ... being at his best for the Breeders Crown is what REALLY matters??? GO SAN PAIL!!!!


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