p,3, 1:49.4f ($2,038,153)
Western Hanover – Arterra – Artsplace
2009 summary: 23 – 12-3-2 ($1,792,753)
Trainer: Tracy Brainard
Drivers: Tim Tetrick, Jim Morrill Jr, George Brennan
Owner: Bulletproof Enterprises (FL)
Breeder: Tactical Armor Prods Inc. (NY)
He may not be big in stature, but If I Can Dream proved time and time again in 2009 that he has the heart of a champion.
The regally-bred son of Western Hanover - Arterra was a durable type, making 23 trips postward and improving as the season wore on for the high-powered Tracy Brainard stable.
The colt’s first stakes victory came in the $421,000 Art Rooney final on June 13 at Yonkers Raceway. He showed his half-mile prowess again on August 16 at Flamboro Downs, along with his grittiness, when he survived two heats to win the Confederation Cup including a 1:52.1 win in the $560,000 final.
If I Can Dream also captured the $295,000 Tattersalls, $542,060 Messenger and the $160,000 Cleveland Classic.
His biggest payday came when he captured the $617,880 Breeders Crown on October 24 at Woodbine Racetrack with one of the gutsiest performances in Crown history - a 1:51.1 gate-to-wire victory under blustery conditions.
The ‘Dream’ season elevated his career earnings to just over $2 million.
p,3, 1:47.3 ($2,690,820)
Western Hanover – Must See – Artsplace
2009 summary: 14 – 10-0-1 ($2,089,693)
Trainer: Steve Elliott
Driver: Ron Pierce
Owners: Jeffrey Snyder (NY), Lothlorien (ON)
Breeders: Steve Jones (NY), Fair Winds Farm Inc. (NJ)
Well Said came into the 2009 campaign as the top rated colt and he certainly lived up to the advanced billing.
His connections had pointed him towards the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack on June 27 and the son of Western Hanover - Must See delivered an incredible performance, defeating his rivals by more than three lengths in a track, stakes and Canadian record of 1:48.1.
He followed that up with an even more dominant win in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace just three weeks later, trouncing his rivals by six lengths in a blistering 1:47.3 mile.
Well Said’s next stake win came in the $500,000 Battle of Brandywine on August 16 at Chester Downs where he won from off the pace in 1:50.
He was expected to have a tough time in the Little Brown Jug after drawing the outside post in his elimination of the first heat. However, he overcame that obstacle with little difficulty to prevail for driver Ron Pierce in 1:51.1.
That victory ensured a good post position for the second heat and Well Said would not be denied, scoring decisively by a length in 1:51.4 in the $292,392 contest.
When the dust had settled, Well Said ended the year with just over $2 million in season’s earnings before retiring to stud duty at the famed Hanover Shoe Farms.
Who do you think will win? If you haven't voted yet, head over to the 2009 O'Brien poll.