Gold Digger King has been golden for Mogan

Gordon Waterstone

Lexington, KY — Longtime Ohio-based horseman Scott Mogan turns 62 on Friday (May 28) so it would certainly be a fitting way to cap off his birthday weekend if Gold Digger King can post a victory in Saturday night’s (May 29) $22,000 Open 1 Pace at Scioto Downs. With Tyler Smith driving, Gold Digger King will start from post four in the top-class event scheduled as race seven.

Since returning to the races this year as a 5-year-old, Gold Digger King has four wins in six starts, and is currently riding a two-race win streak in Scioto’s top-class event. That streak began on May 6 with a 1:52 victory and then was followed up by a career-best 1:49.2 score on May 15, which brought his 2021 earnings to $52,635 and career total to $309,147.

“I think he’s as good as he’s ever been,” Mogan said of Gold Digger King, who he has trained since the gelding was a yearling for owner Linda Van Camp, whose late husband T.D. bred the son of Pet Rock out of the Panspacificflight mare Hope For Pot Gold. “He’s seemed to have gotten better each year.”

Gold Digger King has banked $309,147 in his career. Conrad photo.

Saturday’s start will be Gold Digger King’s 50th in his career, with 16 wins, 13 seconds and six thirds currently on his resume. Showing his consistency, the pacer has missed just three checks his entire career.

“He’s ultra-consistent and loves to race,” said Mogan, who sits on the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s board of directors and was honored in 2019 with the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing the past two decades. “He loves to race horses, he loves to pass, and he loves to fight them off when they come at him. He’s just one of those horses that don’t come around very often.”

While Gold Digger King won his very first start as a 2-year-old in 2018, Mogan admits it might have been a bit too much too soon. Especially considering the sultry conditions at Scioto Downs that early Wednesday in July.

“He won in 1:52.4 his first start on the Fourth of July,” Morgan remembered of the win in a $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes division on a 91-degree afternoon. “He always showed me a lot of talent but with his body, I don’t think he was mature enough and ready for that. It was 105 degrees with the heat index and it took a toll on him a little bit. It took him a little while to recover.”

While Gold Digger King finished second his next two starts in Ohio stakes competition, his debut effort was his only trip to the winner’s circle in seven starts that year. Ironically, it was in July his sophomore year that Mogan believes Gold Digger King began to find his stride.

“It was actually July of his 3-year-old year when he really started developing into a horse,” said Mogan. “He started filling out and muscling up. He was a slow developer physically.

“He always showed talent and speed, but it took him until the middle of his 3-year-old year when his body started catching up and he blossomed into a horse.”

While Gold Digger King won only three times in 18 starts at three, he was still able to earn just shy of $100,000 as he brought home a paycheck nearly every start.

Returning at age four in 2020, Gold Digger King had eight wins, five seconds and two thirds with $112,915 in earnings.

After capturing back-to-back Opens at Scioto earlier this month, Gold Digger King sat the weekend out. Mogan said he had to make changes in the calendar after receiving an invitation to the Battle of Lake Erie on June 5 at Northfield Park.

“It was my choice not to race last week,” said Mogan. “I usually race him two or three weeks and give him a week off to keep him fresh. I wasn’t figuring on the Battle (of Lake Erie) as the bigger money races are all later in the year so I wanted to keep him sharp and fresh. My original plan was to race him last Saturday and give him this Saturday off, but when Dave Bianconi called me from Northfield and invited him I decided to take last week off and race this week.”

Mogan, who is currently training 18 horses at Winner’s Circle Training Center near Scioto Downs, has six OSS champions on his resume as well as two Ohio Horses of the Year: K F Pro Sam and J J Hall. He said Gold Digger King reminds him most of K F Pro Sam, who was Ohio’s top horse in 2001.

“I’ve had a lot of nice horses and Ohio Sires Stakes champions, but the only other horse I can compare him to is K F Pro Sam, who I had 20 years ago,” said Mogan, who began working in racing at age 15 in 1974 and opened his own stable in 1983. “That horse is the only horse I ever raced in the (Little Brown) Jug (a fifth-place finish). “That horse loved to race too.”

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