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T Barrr delivers timely win for Fleming and McNair
Gregg McNair and Ian Fleming have bred and owned horses together for years, but when two-year-old trotting gelding T Barrr arrived in the winner’s circle at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, McNair learned the partnership did not include the newly minted Gold Series winner.
“I asked him if I owned part of him, but he said no. I said, ‘I’ll be in on this one too, eh,’ ‘No, no,’ he said, ‘I don’t think so’,” related Guelph, ON resident McNair with a laugh.
Londesborough, ON resident Fleming purchased T Barrr as a weanling to serve as a pasture-mate for a colt he and McNair had bred. A son of Adam T, who has produced just eight foals, and mare Lewies Lulu, T Barrr was never expected to be a Gold calibre horse, but when it came time to learn the racing ropes he outshone his pasture-mate.
“We had an odd number so we wanted another gelding or a stud to run through the winter with the weanlings, so Ian bought him and he ran with the other one. Of course, the other one’s no good,” explained McNair ruefully. “He ended up being a nice horse. He was in a few different spots last winter and then we got him as soon as we got home from Florida. I think he’d been right around 2:30 when we got him. Everybody that had him liked him, it seemed like he was going pretty good all winter.”
T Barr made his debut in a July 25 maiden contest at Mohawk Racetrack and finished a fast-closing third, clocked in 1:57.1. On August 1 the gelding made his first Gold Series start, also at Mohawk, and finished fourth. A fourth-place finish in a two-year-old event at the Campbellville oval followed on August 11, but the youngster was scratched out of the August 18 Gold Leg due to sickness.
The McNair team spent almost a month restoring T Barr’s health and then sent him out against some of North America’s top young trotters in the Sept. 11 William Wellwood Memorial Trot eliminations, where he made his first break and finished ninth.
Back in Gold Series action on Tuesday evening, driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville lined T Barrr up at Post 3 in the $125,000 contest and had the colt in gear as soon as the starting car’s wings folded. The pair hit the quarter in :29.1 and then yielded to Cousin Rickard, who carried on to a :58.4 half and a 1:28.2 three-quarters. Heading by the three-quarter pole, Saftic tipped T Barrr into the outer lane and the gelding powered down the stretch to a four length victory in 1:58. Cousin Rickard settled for second and Torches Pirate was two more lengths back in third.
“He got out of there good and we got covered up,” said Saftic from the winner’s circle. “I didn’t know how much we were going to get home, but it was a perfect trip, I pulled early and he win easy enough.”
“He drew good and things really worked out good for him tonight,” added trainer McNair. “He acted like he was going to trot there every week when we first got going, and that’s the first time he’s been back to that speed. They didn’t go a huge mile tonight, I don’t think, a nice hot night like tonight, but he was better than the rest of them.”
The win boosted T Barrr’s earnings from $12,544 to $75,044 and his Gold Series point total from eight to 58, putting him in fourth spot in the standings with one regular season event remaining. The freshman trotting colts will wrap up their regular season at Mohawk on Oct. 5, with the top 10 point earners advancing to the $225,000 Super Final at the Campbellville track on Oct. 14.
Just 25 points separate the top five colts and Saftic is hoping that T Barrr’s current momentum can continue through his remaining starts.
“He’s definitely going the right direction,” said Saftic. “He’s as good right now as anyone, I think.”
While McNair was disappointed to learn that he was not a co-owner of T Barrr, he will have another shot at some Gold Series hardware when Mohawk hosts the regular season Gold finale for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Monday, Oct. 2. Bills Fella, a horse McNair does co-own with Fleming, will be looking for his second straight victory in the provincial program after earning his first trophy on Sept. 2.
Before that, however, McNair will have his attention focussed on this Saturday’s Grassroots Championships, which will see the top Grassroots pacers and trotters compete for a total of $400,000 in eight races. The event kicks off at 7:30 pm with the Championship races going postward in Races 1 through 3 and 5 through 9.
For complete results please visit Two-year-old Trotting Colt Results