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MacLean sticking to his plan through final Gold starts
November 3, 2009
By Sandra Snyder

TORONTO, ON — Ontario’s talented two-year-old trotting colts wrap up their regular season at Woodbine Racetrack on Friday evening, and trainer Ron MacLean is putting the finishing touches on the plan he designed for Zorgwijk Kingpin before the gelding made his debut in August.

“We didn’t have him ready early, we missed a few, but that was all in the schedule we had mapped out for him,” explains the Ingersoll resident, who shares ownership on Zorgwijk Kingpin with Murray Neilson, Scot Wood and Joseph Serratore of London. “We wanted to try to have him peaking for the end of the year, when the big money is on the line.

“Now we just go day to day and hope nothing changes,” he adds.

So far, the plan has worked perfectly. Through eight starts Zorgwijk Kingpin has posted three wins, all in Gold Eliminations, three seconds and one third, banking $143,716 for his owners, who invested just $3,700 to acquire the Southwind Lustre son from last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale.

“It’s quite a thing for the owners to be on a ride like this. Everyone dreams of this,” says MacLean. “And we don’t have $40,000 or $50,000 invested in him either, that makes it even sweeter.”

Before Zorgwijk Kingpin came along, none of the partners had ever won a Gold Series event, so each elimination victory has been cause for celebration. Second and third in his first two Gold Final attempts, the gelding and regular reinsman Trevor Ritchie will attempt to improve on those results from Post 6 in Friday’s fifth race. In last week’s Gold Elimination, they cruised to a 1:59 victory over a track rated one second slower than normal, and MacLean says the youngster has bounced back nicely from the effort.

“Trevor said he raced really good, he trotted strong to the wire, and he came out of it good,” notes the trainer. “Hopefully things will work out on Friday.”

MacLean says the gelding has matured over the season, growing both in stature and his mental ability to handle the rigours of training and racing.

“He’s on a growth spurt right now. He’s probably grown a couple of inches,” says the horseman. “He’s racier, and I find he’s easier on himself.”

With a solid foundation of jogging and training miles under Zorgwijk Kingpin’s belt, MacLean’s primary focus in recent weeks has shifted to the gelding’s mental state. The striking chestnut enjoyed a three week break between his Champlain division on Sept. 6 and the start of the Rideau Carleton Raceway Gold Series on Sept. 27, and again between the Rideau Gold Final and last week’s elimination.

“The rest did him good,” notes MacLean. “It’s been a long year for the babies.

“Getting this late in the year, you just need to keep the jogging in them,” he adds. “I schooled him in 2:00 before the elimination, but I’m not even blowing him out this week. He’s up to speed.”

Zorgwijk Kingpin will try and add to his 195 Gold Series points from Post 6 in the fifth race on Friday. The other elimination winner, Grumpy Jake, will start from Post 2. Woodbine Racetrack’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm.

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