What Cheer, IA — Trainer Curtis Carey took home trophies in both the 2-year-old and 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Colt Pace Championships held at the Keokuk County Fairgrounds on Monday (Sept. 23) with his horses Slippin The Clutch and Frisky Pedro.
The five top 2-year-old pacing colts went to the gate in the Mike Smith Memorial with Carey’s Slippin The Clutch drawing the rail, followed by Its A Marcs World, Waco Sassy Kid, First Gunner and Always Hotspeed in post position five.
“Slippin The Clutch is a really good horse, he’s very easy on himself,” said Carey. “The times he got beat this year were by Waco Sassy Kid, who I also consider to be a really good horse.”
The two-year-old colt pace has been a hotly contested division throughout the season. Waco Sassy Kid was the horse to beat staying undefeated until Slippin The Clutch broke his seven win streak in early August. Four of the five starters showed at least one win in their last four starts, with both Slippin The Clutch and Always Hotspeed coming off wins last weekend at Humboldt (Sept. 14).
Iowa’s leading driver Will Roland piloted Slippin the Clutch, shooting off the gate to take the top and catch the quarter in 30.3. The horses remained single file until the stretch when Always Hotspeed pulled to challenge. The field passed the half in 1:04. Slippin The Clutch continued to lead to the three-quarters in 1:32.1 followed by Its A Marcs World and First Gunner on the rail. Always Hotspeed led the outer flow in third with Waco Sassy Kid on his tail.
Slippin The Clutch showed no signs of slowing, and Its A Marcs World also continued to maintain in second. The pack in the back went three-wide into the final turn in a battle for third. Slippin The Clutch picked up the win in 2:01. Its A Marc World took second followed by First Gunner, Always Hotspeed, and Waco Sassy Kid.
“The last few weeks he’s been on point, he gives me goosebumps watching him,” said Carey. “Will (Roland) drove him perfectly today.”
A son of Millionaire Cam out of the Artsplace mare Sweet Otra, Carey’s 2-year-old pacing gelding Slippin The Clutch began his freshman season training on a track miles away from the snowy Iowa winter. It was here that Carey first saw the colt’s potential.
“When I was training him in Florida one day he came a quarter in :28 and change,” said Carey. “I knew at that point that he had some extra gears.”
Slippin The Clutch has proven himself for owners Jesse Delong, Jeff Carey and Rick & CD Huffman. Paired Will Roland, Slippin The Clutch has won nine of 12 starts and paced the fastest 2-year-old colt mile in Iowa in 2019 – 1:59.4.
Slippin The Clutch will be making his way to Lexington to race the next two weeks at the Grand Circuit meet, after which Carey has more big plans for him.
“Right now we’re pointing on the same path as we did Minnie Vinnie – taking him to some out-of-state races, and bringing him back to race in Iowa as well,” said Carey.
Carey’s second championship winner, Frisky Pedro, has had a rough go at it.
“Training him down as a yearling I thought he was a really good horse, but he’s honestly been the worst luck horse I’ve ever been around,” said Carey. “Last year he was in the finals and I had to scratch him because he got sick. Frisky Pedro started out the season with early wins at Bedford and in the Iowa Sires Stakes in June when his luck caught up with him.
“This year July was awful on him — he didn’t win any money, he got sick,” said Carey. “I had the vet draw blood on him after What Cheer one day and he showed that he was anemic so we started treating him. I started training him in between races. After that he really turned around.”
The year’s top five 3-year-old pacing colts took to the gate in the Jim Coulter Memorial with Bad Boy Destroyer on the inside, followed by My Money Honey, Oh Toodles, Frisky Pedro and Fred And Roz in post position five.
With no individual having more than five wins in 12 starts, the Jim Coulter Memorial 3-year-old Iowa-Registered Colt Pace championship was up for grabs. All had shown at least one win in their past four starts, with Bad Boy Destroyer and Frisky Pedro coming off wins at Humboldt last Sunday (Sept. 15). Four of the five had broken the two minute mark on a fair track this year, with My Money Honey and Frisky Pedro’s impressive 1:58.4 photo finish performance last week.
Bad Boy Destroyer, My Money Honey and Frisky Pedro fired off the gait in tandem, battling for the early lead. Frisky Pedro worked his way to the top as they headed into the backstretch followed closely by My Money Honey and Bad Boy Destroyer.
“Today Will told me ‘I’m going to leave with him’,” said Carey. “I said if you think he can do it then do it.”
Frisky Pedro reached the quarter in :28.2, where Chad Svenson and Bad Boy Destroyer pulled to take on the leader. They passed the half in 58 seconds with Frisky Pedro leading by a head. Bad Boy Destroyer continued to put on the pressure and his stablemate My Money Honey tipped three-wide as the trio passed the three-quarters in 1:28.4.
“I think he’s a much better horse than what he’d shown,” said Carey. “I believed in him. Will believed in him.”
Frisky Pedro took advantage of the shorter rail trip and pulled away into the final turn and cruised home in 1:58.4, matching his lifetime best in the fastest 3-year-old colt pace of 2019 in Iowa. My Money Honey finished second followed by Oh Toodles, Fred And Roz and Bad Boy Destroyer.
“Will drove him today like he was the best – a lot of the credit goes to him,” said Carey. “He’s driven our horses all year and done and amazing job with them. He deserves as much credit as anybody does for getting them to the winners circle.”