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Patience pays off for owners of sophomore trotting colts
November 12, 2009
By Sandra Snyder

TORONTO, ON — Gold Final winners Equity and I Wont Dance will square off in their last Ontario Sires Stakes duel at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, wrapping up sophomore careers in which the virtue patience has been richly rewarded.

Neither colt raced at two, and both have made 18 appearances behind the starting gate so far this season, with Equity netting 11 wins and $451,320 and I Wont Dance garnering seven wins and $243,442.

“Last year he showed me he had the ability, but he needed the maturity and he needed to grow,” says trainer Charalambos Christoforou of Equity. “I qualified him two or three times and that was it. I stopped with him and it paid.

“Sometimes you have to manage them, and I’m in a position I can wait,” adds the Campbellville resident, who bred and shares ownership of Equity with Banjo Farms of Toronto.

Christoforou’s decision to wait on Equity paid off early, as the son of Kadabra and Earl Of My Dreams posted a 1:57.2 victory in his first sophomore start at Woodbine on April 23. The gelding won his next start at Mohawk Racetrack and then finished second by a neck in his first Gold Elimination appearance at the Campbellville oval.

Starting from Post 9 in the May 25 Gold Final, Equity finished sixth, the only time he has missed the top two this season. The talented young trotter then went on to post an outstanding eight race win streak that extended from June 11 through Aug. 8 and included two Gold Eliminations, two Gold Finals and the elimination and final of the Canadian Breeders Championship.

Equity’s mid-season win streak echoed the run of success Christoforou, Banjo Farms and William Jones of Lexington, KY enjoyed with his mother Earl Of My Dreams in 2000. Earl Of My Dreams posted six straight victories in the middle of a tough sophomore campaign and went on to win $1,016,611 before her retirement in 2003.

“His looks and conformation, he is more like his mother than Kadabra,” notes Christoforou. “He has a couple of sisters, they’re broodmares. They showed a lot of speed and a lot of ability, but they also showed soundness issues, so we decided to breed them.”

Christoforou says Equity battled a few health issues of his own earlier this fall, but seems to have rebounded in time for Saturday’s $300,000 Super Final. The gelding prepped for the contest with an overnight start at Woodbine on Nov. 7, finishing second in the 1:54.3 mile.

“He did race okay there. I hope he’s coming back to himself,” says the horseman. “He got a decent post, but it’s still racing luck.”

Regular reinsman Jack Moiseyev will steer the division point leader from Post 2 in the eighth race Saturday, while second ranked I Wont Dance and Trevor Ritchie are handicapped by the outside Post 10. I Wont Dance delivered his final prep one night before Equity — touring the Woodbine oval in 1:54.4 against aged trotters on Nov. 6 — and trainer Per Henriksen thinks he is up to the challenge.

“If he’s at the best of his game, he’s got as good a shot as anybody,” says the Norwood resident, who conditions I Wont Dance for M. Biasuzzi Stable Inc. of Ft. Pierce, FL. “He wasn’t very happy on the half-mile track, but on the seven-eighths, at his best he’s as good as any of them.”

I Wont Dance made a miscue at the start of the Oct. 9 Gold Final over Western Fair Raceway’s half-mile oval and finished seventh while Equity earn his third title. The son of Angus Hall and Do Si Do Hanover earned his Gold Final trophies in the season opener at Mohawk in May and at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sept. 24, achieving a level of success unimaginable to Maurizio Biasuzzi when he sent the youngster to Henriksen in the spring.

“When he came this year, he couldn’t do anything,” recalls the trainer, whose barn is the fourth one I Wont Dance has resided in since Biasuzzi acquired him for $95,000 from the 2007 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale.

In addition to I Wont Dance, Henriksen will also be sending two-year-old trotting colt Magic Fruit into Super Final battle on Saturday. The son of Kadabra and Anna Banana heads into the season finale off a Nov. 2 overnight event at Woodbine that Henriksen used as a testing ground for some equipment changes.

“I changed some equipment on him, he was too hot in the Breeders Crown,” explains the veteran horseman. “I took him back and raced him from behind. I was happy with him.”

Magic Fruit finished well back in the field of older horses, trotting his own mile in 1:58.2, which was just one second slower than he toured the Woodbine oval in the Oct. 24 Breeders Crown Final. Milton resident Steve Condren engineered the colt’s fourth-place finish in the Breeders Crown Elimination and his third in the final and will be back in the race bike for Saturday’s Super Final, sending Magic Fruit after a share of the $300,000 from Post 7.

“He’s a really nice horse. If he gets a trip he should be able to handle these horses, he did before,” says Henriksen, who trains the winner of $241,267 for Ernst Gerbaulet of Recklinghausen, GER.

Magic Fruit boasts a record of two wins, one second and four thirds in 13 starts, with his victories coming in Gold Series action at Rideau Carleton Raceway, where he swept his Sept. 24 elimination and the Oct. 4 final.

The freshman trotting colt division was one of two that saw five different Gold Final winners over the season, and the other four title holders will also be looking for Super Final glory on Saturday. Ja El Express starts from Post 1, Pointe To Pointe gets Post 9, Text Me landed Post 6 and division point leader Zorgwijk Kingpin will start from Post 4 in the fifth race.

Woodbine Racetrack’s first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday, with the eight Super Finals featured in Races 3 through 10.

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