Who have harness racing's sharpest minds selected in the 2023 TROT Magazine Fantasy Stable? Trot Insider will feature 'expert picks' in advance of the deadline for this year's contest.
Returning to the panel of experts is trainer Nick Gallucci. The two-time O'Brien Award finalist and multiple O'Brien Award-winning trainer finished fourth overall in the 2022 TROT Magazine Fantasy Stable contest and thoroughly appreciates the opportunity to take part in this year's competition.
"It's fun! I'm really glad you guys do the contest. It gives us something interesting to watch through the year."
One of those horses Gallucci thinks will be interesting to watch through the year is 2022 Dan Patch Award winner Special Way, his choice in the sophomore-stacked Group A .
"I only really watched her race in the Breeders Crown but then I looked back at her other lines and she couldn't have done that any more impressively toward the end of the year," said Gallucci. "She got started a little bit later in the year and they raced her light so I think she's going to be really on her toes this year."
A daughter of Walner-Special Hill, Special Way won seven of nine starts and finished second once, with her victories including the Breeders Crown in a Canadian-record 1:52 and the Kentucky Championship Series final. She also won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:52 at the Red Mile. She was bred by owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, and is campaigned by Ake Svanstedt.
Gallucci was impressed with the way Special Way handled her rivals in the Breeders Crown, including 2022 O'Brien Award winner and fellow Group A option Righteous Resolve.
"The way she came first over, and that was a pretty special filly in [tempo-setter] Righteous Resolve, and she looked like she handled the competition so well. I happened to see she qualified really well already this year and she looks like she's in prime form to really do something special."
Gallucci's 2023 TROT Magazine Fantasy Stable selections are as follows:
Group I: Two-Year-Old Colt Pacers:
Group J: Two-Year-Old Filly Pacers:
Group K: Two-Year-Old Colt Trotters:
Group L: Two-Year-Old Filly Trotters:
SLIP SLIDING AWAY
Group M: Trainers 1:
Group N: Trainers 2:
Group O: Drivers 1:
Group P: Drivers 2:
Group Q: Drivers 3:
Group R: Drivers 4:
Contest entry is now open until 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, May 26. Stables cannot be altered once submitted.
The contest is based on total earnings of selected horses and five percent of the earnings of selected trainers and drivers between May 26, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023. Follow along all year long!
For the purposes of the fantasy bankroll, the winners (horses only) of the 2023 Breeders Crown Finals will each receive a $200,000 contest bankroll bonus. Once again, in the two-year-old categories, you must select TWO horses in each.
At the end of the year, the first three finishers (based on total stable earnings) will be awarded betting vouchers in the amount of $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $100 (third place).
Full contest rules are available here. To enter, complete the form below.