News ArchivesArchives for May '05
Local colt aims for win number seven Saturday
LONDON — Putnam Romeo impressed Western Fair Raceway fans with a track record effort in his Ontario Sires Stakes debut last weekend, but trainer Scott McEneny expects it will be tough for the three-year-old pacing colt to replicate that performance in Saturday’s $130,000 Gold Final.
“It’s going to be really tough. There are lots of leavers inside us, and a trailer,” says McEneny, who trains Putnam Romeo for Martin Bardoel’s Putnam Training Centre Ltd. of Putnam, Jamie Bardoel of London and Martin and Alex Hossack of Thamesford. “There will have to be a lot of front end speed for us to have any luck.”
While Putnam Romeo was able to use his preferred come-from-behind style in last week’s Gold Elimination, McEneny says Post 6 will make that strategy difficult on Saturday.
“The early pace is going to be really sharp with the 1, 2, and 3 horses,” says the Waterdown resident, referring to Grand Bend Turbo, elimination winner Loverboy Hanover and Banner Yankee, all horses that have proven their ability to hustle away from the starting gate. “If Paul (MacDonell) takes back with his horse (Astronomical) maybe we can follow him; but you can guess what the race is going to go like and it usually ends up going the opposite.”
Astronomical, who carved all the fractions last weekend before being reeled in by Putnam Romeo, will start from Post 5. The other elimination winner, Extreme Three, will start from the trailing Post 8.
After his impressive 1:53.2 effort last week, Putnam Romeo has been enjoying a laid back conditioning schedule in preparation for Saturday’s test. The Grinfromeartoear son, who was also bred by Putnam Training Centre Ltd. and Jamie Bardoel, had gone two weeks between starts prior to the elimination so McEneny wanted to be sure he was ready to tackle the OSS bearcats.
“He was all trained up for last week, because he’d had a little time between starts,” explains the horseman. “So this week he’s had a lot of paddock time, he’s been jogging and I’ll blow him out a little bit tomorrow (Wednesday). He likes his paddock time, he likes to relax.”
While Putnam Romeo relaxed McEneny and the gelding’s owners spent their time worrying about finding another new driver. Paul MacDonell piloted the rookie pacer to his first five wins, but had already committed to Astronomical for the stakes season. Mario Baillargeon engineered win number six in the elimination, but also qualified his regular mount Zooka for trainer Ben Wallace, leaving Putnam Romeo rudderless once again.
“Maybe I’ll have to pull out the colours,” jokes McEneny, who drove in just 11 races last season.
No matter who picks up the lines on Saturday, McEneny knows Putnam Romeo will have a tough time extending his win streak to seven. However, with four more Gold events on the calendar, he is hoping the gelding will have several more opportunities to earn a piece of Gold Final hardware.
The top eight sophomore pacing colts in Ontario square off in Race 7 on Western Fair Raceway’s Saturday evening program, which also features five divisions of The New PL City of London Pacing Series. The first race gets under way at 7:30 pm.