News Archives

Archives for September '08

Keystone Horatio aiming for Gold in Ottawa Thursday
September 29, 2008
By Sandra Snyder

OTTAWA, ON — Ontario’s gifted three-year-old pacing colts bring their heated rivalry to Rideau Carleton Raceway on Thursday evening and trainer John Kopas is hoping it is Keystone Horatio’s turn in the Gold Final winner’s circle.

“We schooled him Friday in 1:55 and he schooled really well,” says the Milton resident. “I think he’s coming into the race in good shape.”

Among the group of seven headed to Rideau for Thursday’s $180,000 battle, only The Mohegan Pan and Keystone Horatio have found their way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner’s circle this season. Like they did in the last Gold Final, the rivals will line up alongside each other from Posts 6 and 7, and Rideau Carleton handicappers have established The Mohegan Pan as the early favourite. Kopas expects the evenly matched pair to put on an exciting show for Ottawa harness racing fans, but points out that Deuce Seelster may also be part of the mix.

“Depending on how Deuce Seelster comes out of being sick, it looks like it comes down to a three-horse race,” notes the horseman, who trains Keystone Horatio for breeder George Hempt of Camp Hill, PA. “And it looks like the horse to beat is The Mohegan Pan.”

The 2007 freshman pacing colt champion, Deuce Seelster has struggled to find his form in Ontario Sires Stakes action this season, but the colt looked sharp the week before he was scratched from his Sept. 18 Little Brown Jug elimination. Starting from Post 5 in Thursday’s skirmish, Deuce Seelster is also the only other colt in the field, aside from The Mohegan Pan and Keystone Horatio, to sport a 1:50 and change clocking this season.

Starting to the immediate right of the two horses he considers the most significant threats, Kopas says Randy Waples will make a game time decision about strategy when the starting gate pulls away from the field, noting that Keystone Horatio is versatile enough to execute any plan the veteran reinsman selects.

“He’s very versatile, you can do whatever the heck you want with him,” explains Kopas. “Randy (Waples) says he’s an absolutely perfect horse to drive in a race.”

Kopas adds that Keystone Horatio’s manners extend into all aspects of the Rustler Hanover son's life, from the training track to the stable block.

“He’s just a real gentleman,” says the trainer. “He has a great attitude, he’s just happy to be alive.

“And the great thing about him, you can train him wherever the heck you want. He’ll go as fast as you want when you train him,” Kopas continues.

With a total of 200 points earned in the first three Gold Series events, Keystone Horatio sits atop the three-year-old pacing colt standings and has guaranteed himself a berth in the Nov. 15 Super Final. Thursday’s Gold Final, and the elimination and final at Windsor Raceway in late October, are the only stakes engagements remaining on the colt’s sophomore calendar, but fans can look forward to seeing him return to the races next season.

“We’ll shut him down after the Super Final and give him a nice vacation, like we did last year, and then bring him back as a four-year-old,” reports Kopas.

Before that, however, Keystone Horatio has a handful of things on his agenda, and a strong showing at Rideau Carleton Raceway is one of them. The gifted three-year-old pacing colt squares off against his Gold Series rivals in the sixth race on the Ottawa oval’s Thursday evening program, which gets under way at 6:30 pm.

For complete entries please go to: