Hughes: San Pail "Changed My Life"

Published: December 11, 2010 08:28 am EST

San Pail, a horse that no one wanted in the early stages of his career, has gone on to give trainer and co-owner Rod Hughes the ride of a lifetime


The six-year-old son of San Pellegrino has won back-to-back Maple Leaf Trot’s over the past two seasons and earned over $1.6 million lifetime for Hughes and partner Glenn Van Camp.

Undefeated in his last five starts, San Pail, with regular driver Randy Waples, has been entered into the $42,000 Open Trot, which will go as race 3 on Monday night's card of harness racing.

Hughes, a resident of Dunsford, Ontario, surely hasn’t taken San Pail’s lifetime accomplishments for granted.

“He changed my life, plain and simple,” Hughes commented to WEG’s media department. “We now have our farm paid off and he was big part of it. He’s gotten my family and me where we are today. I’m associated with a great horse and he’s provided so many thrills for my family and me. I’m truly grateful!”

This season alone, San Pail has won 11 of 13 starts and well over $600,000 in earnings.

He will undoubtedly be named Canada’s best older male trotter of the year at this year’s O’Brien Awards on January 29, but being named Horse of the Year in Canada is something that Hughes has thought about.

“I think he’s in contention, probably top two,” Hughes commented. “Dreamfair Eternal had an exceptional year and she won the Breeders Crown, so she probably has a leg up on us. It could even be a tie, I think it’s that close.”

Although San Pail had a tremendous year, Hughes does have one regret.

“Now that I look back, I wish I took him to The Red Mile for the Allerage Trot. I was there that week for the yearling sale and he would love that track.”

According to Hughes, the short term plan for San Pail is to race him in the Glorys Comet Stakes which begins on January 10, then give his superstar a break.

“He will race in the Glorys Comet then he will likely get time off. A lot will depend on the weather; I won’t race him in -40 degree weather, that’s for sure.”

Besides, the Glorys Comet is small potatoes compared to what San Pail will be looking to accomplish in 2011. Hughes admits that operation Maple Leaf Trot for 2011 has begun a long time ago.

“The very next day after we won this year’s Maple Leaf Trot I said in the barn that the 2011 Maple Leaf Trot campaign has just begun,” laughed Hughes.

Regardless of what happens next year, Hughes will be returning to the tailor shop once again to pick out his tuxedo for this year’s O’Brien Awards.

(WEG; photo credit - New Image Media)



Actually WEG is to be congratulated for allowing any and all competetive free for allers to race with out the standard years ago "win thre and your out policy"that contributed to very questionable practices to keep horses in that class!!

Congratulations to all. I disagree with Mr FitzGerald`s comments I am a big fan of San Pail and I dont recall when another horse dominated week after week that there was an issue. This horse gets limited starts as it is.... so taking $10,000 for the runner up doesn`t seem to bad to me it would be like you won a $20,000 at WEG. Keep up the great work Rodney.
Terry Cameron

Joe FitzGerald

At what point do the powers that be on the circuit tell the owner's of San Pail that the party is over? How long will he be allowed to trounce far inferior stock at 2-5, week after week? I understand why the owner's won't turn away from that easy $21,000 per start, but what about the racing secretary? Wake up folks. If he refuses to leave the nest, someone needs to push him out.

Congratulations Rod. What a wonderful horse! I'm sure you were happy to have Randy to drive him. They make a good pair!

Congratulations Rod and all connections associated with the 'Pail', great year. Kuddo's also to Glenn and Donna VanCamp who bred and raised this fantastic world class individual. Your long standing contribution to the industry finally gets recognition in producing this incredible athletic champion.

I'll bet there are lots of leafs fans surfing this page saying
"hey who is that guy in the picture to the left of Rod, Glenn, and San Pail !"

Congrats Rod and San pail. It is well deserved and you did a great job with a great horse. San pail is one horse that i will never forget and plan to tell my grand kids about. Again congrats Rod and good luck in the future.