Will Propulsion Move Forward?
"He reminds me a lot of (late stakes-winner) Modern Family as a young horse. He’s got a lot of potential.”
Tony Alagna hopes Propulsion keeps moving forward. Purchased for $250,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Sale, the four-year-old trotter was unraced at age two because of immaturity, but has won five of his last eight starts dating back to August.
He is 2-for-2 this season, with both victories coming in the preliminary rounds of the Super Bowl Series for three- and four-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands.
Propulsion will start Saturday’s $50,000 Super Bowl final from post one with driver Tim Tetrick. He is part of an entry with Blocking The Way and Opulent Yankee –- a group that has been tabbed the 4-5 morning line favourite.
“He’s a horse we always had high hopes for, he just was really immature and needed some time,” said Alagna, who trains Propulsion for owners Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco, Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC, and the partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband.
“Spending (a lot) of money doesn’t guarantee they’ll be good right away -- or ever -- but he’s a very high-speed horse. He had some minor growing pains and it just took him a little while to put it all together."
Propulsion flashed that potential in October when he beat stakes-winner Odds On Amethyst by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.3 in a late closer at The Red Mile. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the 2007 Hambletonian Oaks-winning Danae, Propulsion (originally named Deyrolle) is a half-brother to stakes-winner Dorsay and his family also includes 1974 Horse of the Year, and successful broodmare, Delmonica Hanover.
“After he won at Lexington, we knew this series was coming up, so we thought it would be a good place to get him back started on his four-year-old career,” Alagna said. “We shut him down so he would fit the series (conditions) and I think a lot of people keep these series in mind in the fall when they’re deciding whether to go on or stop.”
Propulsion, who has won five of 10 career starts and earned $43,790, also is eligible to the Charles Singer Memorial Series and Shiaway St Pat Series at the Meadowlands. If all goes well, the horse could then head to the Graduate Series for four-year-old trotters, which features three preliminary rounds followed by a $250,000 final.
“He has the potential to be a Grand Circuit horse, he really does,” Alagna said. “That’s why these series are great for a horse like him because he can go through these three series at the Meadowlands and then have a little bit of a break and maybe go into that new Graduate Series.
“It gives him a lot of nice starts against his own kind before he’d ever have to go against the better horses. But he’ll have an opportunity and hopefully everything will go that way.”
Propulsion faces a tough group in the Super Bowl final. Opulent Yankee, who starts from post 10, also won both his preliminary races in the series. Other division winners JL Cruze, Two Hip Dip and Blocking The Way drew posts four through six, respectively.
“I think it’s a very tough series,” Alagna said. “We’ve been tinkering with him a little, making some adjustments with him every start, and hopefully he’ll be at his best for the final.”
Saturday’s card at the Meadowlands also features the $56,000 Escort Series final for three- and four-year-old male pacers and the $47,600 Worldly Beauty Series final for three- and four-year-old female pacers.
The Worldly Beauty, on paper, shapes up as a showdown between Alagna’s Witch Dali and Ron Burke’s Donttellruss. Last week, Witch Dali had a five-race win streak snapped by Donttellruss, who posted a one-length victory in 1:51.3.
Witch Dali, a daughter of Dali out of Whitesand Gem, missed nearly all of last season because of a foot issue. She returned in December and swept the Niagara Series at Woodbine, capturing the final in a series-record 1:51.2.
“She had a foot issue that wouldn’t resolve itself, so we just waited on her,” said Alagna, who owns the four-year-old mare with Brad Grant. “We just took our time and did the right thing by her, and she’s paying us back so far.
“She’s been fantastic. She cut the mile (last week) and Donttellruss sat on her back and beat her, but it was more so the fact our mare was hot the other night. It’s the first time she’s really been overly aggressive and we made some changes on her this week for the final and I think she’ll bounce right back. She came out of the race good and we’re in good shape.”
Donttellruss will start the Worldly Beauty final from post six with driver Corey Callahan and is the 6-5 morning line favourite. Witch Dali will leave from post 10 with Tetrick and is the 9-5 second choice.
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.