The opening chapter of his racing story wasn’t a novel beginning, but life is indeed good these days for Greatest Ending.
Dr. Ian Moore recalls the early days spent with the sizable bay colt, a son of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere blessed with a wealth of natural talent but beset by a myriad of maladies and growing pains.
“When I got him last year as a two-year-old, he was way too big for his age,” recalled Moore. “His ankles were all filled up, along with other things. I did say to Reg [owner and co-breeder, Petipas] at the time that it might be hard to keep him sound because he’s so big.”
Moore’s assessment, unfortunately, turned out to be correct.
“It ended up that we did do two surgeries on him, to have six chips taken out,” noted Moore. “Two out of each hock and two out of his left hind ankle. He recovered from that and raced a little bit last fall. He trained back just super.”
That’s where the story takes a significant upturn.
After a rookie campaign that yielded one win and four seconds from five starts, along with $23,000 in earnings, Greatest Ending’s sophomore season, albeit only two starts, has been extremely impressive.
On May 7, he lined up behind the gate for a $69,578 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes race at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows.
Sent off at 16-1, Greatest Ending, with Dave Palone in the sulky, went wire-to-wire in a front-end 1:51.2 masterpiece, capped off by a :27.2 final quarter that resulted in a 1-1/2-length win.
Two weeks later, he was back at Mohawk, facing nine foes in the May 21 evening’s first race.
While his odds were far lower than in his Pennsylvania score – Greatest Ending went off at 1-5 – the end result was very much the same.
With James MacDonald holding the reins, the duo dashed away from the field down the lane for a 4-1/2-length triumph in 1:51.3.
“It was an easy mile for him, basically a training mile,” said Moore. “I think the colt has a lot more to offer. We haven’t had a chance to see yet, other than what he did in Pennsylvania. It’s hard to really evaluate how fast you’re going with him because of his gait, the same thing when he’s training. We’re looking forward to a nice few weeks up here.”
Eligible to the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, set for June 18 at Mohawk (with eliminations the week prior), the focus, for now, is on Saturday at the Milton, Ont. oval, specifically, one of two divisions of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes (Race 6).
Moore likes what he sees ahead of his sophomore star’s upcoming test.
Two things, in particular, come to mind for the conditioner who has two Somebeachsomewhere Stakes division crowns to his name, in 2015 with Rockin In Heaven and in 2019 with Century Farroh.
“I think Greatest Ending’s gait and the size of him stands out for me. He’s a huge horse. He seems to have a lot of little bad luck things, but other than that, he’s a beautiful colt to be around and he’s lovely colt on the track.”
Moore also sends out Lawless Shadow, who will set foot on a racetrack for the first time since the discovery of a slight fracture in his foot late last season sent him to the sidelines for the 2021 Pepsi North America Cup. The now four-year-old Shadow Play gelding comes in off a career season where he ascended to victory in the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace following a disqualification for the first time in the history of the event. The Doc Moore trainee – co-owned by Moore with R G McGroup Ltd., Serge Savard and Frank Cannon – also snagged the $300,000 Max Hempt at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 1:48.2 a week before scratching from the North America Cup eliminations.
Last Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Lawless Shadow qualified in 1:51.1 for driver Bob McClure, finishing second to Warrawee Vital.
"We were okay with it," Moore told Trot Insider of the qualifying effort. "You know, qualifying is much like training to me. He's had lots of miles, and I hummed and hawed about whether I qualify him again or race. Qualifying is like training and so it's not the same. It doesn't matter where we're racing, we're basically going to go in [1:]48 or better anyway, so we might as well give him a shot this week."
Starting in the first Graduate division for pacing males, Lawless Shadow will score from Post 7 in the eight-horse contest in rein to regular pilot Mark MacDonald. The 2020 O'Brien Award winner faces a stiff field including the Tony Alagna contingent of Abuckabett Hanover and Rockyroad Hanover, the former returning to the site of his strongest wins as a rookie and sophomore; Messenger Pace winner American Courage, Little Brown Jug champ Lous Pearlman and Ontario Sires Stakes star Bulldog Hanover.
Moore noted that horses must race in two of the three Graduate legs to be eligible for the Graduate Final, so that option is at least there should he qualify for the Final points-wise.
"It's either that or the Open," Moore continued. "Like I said, lots of solid low-50 miles in him, he's got a good background and he's ready to go."
Free past performances, courtesy of TrackIT, for Saturday's program are available here.
To view Saturday’s harness racing entries, click the following link: Saturday Entries – Woodbine Mohawk Park.
(With files from Woodbine)