"He's definitely a horse that I think should get a lot better than he was last year. He was pretty good last year but he's improved."
The countdown to the 2013 North America Cup is on, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.
Captive Audience comes in at #7, assessed odds of 15-1 in Trot's 2013 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book. Trainer Colin Johnson offered Trot Insider an update on the son of Art Major.
Where did he winter?
"He was turned out at Ted Smith's farm in Rockwood, Ont. after the Breeders Crown until around the first of January and then he trained back in Quebec. He put quite a bit of weight on at Ted's and he came back to me in January in real, real good shape."
When did you start back with him?
"He started back the first week of January."
Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?
"He's a lot taller, he's filled out quite a bit and he's certainly a lot more mature. I've been able to give him an extra inch in his hopples."
Where are you at with him now and when will he qualify?
"He's going to qualify on May 6. He's schooled in 2:00 at Flamboro and 1:57 at Mohawk, and he schooled again at Woodbine on Monday. I'm right around 1:55 with him."
What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi NA Cup?
"After his qualifier his first major race would be the Somebeachsomewhere the first of June. He actually fits non-winners of three at Woodbine so I'd expect to fit him into a class like that."
What does his tentative schedule look like after the NA Cup?
"We're going to skip the Meadowlands Pace and stay a little conservative with him. Hopefully the Simcoe, Little Brown Jug, Breeders Crown. We decided to skip one of the big dances; you can't go to them all and last the whole year. Coming back at four, you don't want to over-race them at three, either."