Trenton, NJ — Test Of Faith enters her division of Friday’s (Oct. 9) International Stallion Stake for 2-year-old filly pacers at Red Mile with six straight wins and seven victories in eight starts this year. Her only blemish was a second-place finish at Tioga Downs, which may have been one of the horse’s most impressive performances when it comes to poise amidst adversity.
Churning around the first turn in a division of the New York Sire Stakes on July 19, she went off stride because of interference. Rather than panic, driver Jim Marohn Jr. and Test Of Faith recovered and raced fourth before rallying to place.
“Generally, you take yourself out of the race completely,” said Ken Jackson of Kentuckiana Racing Stable, who owns the filly along with Melvin Segal and Eddie Gran. “But she got right back on gait. It was a very impressive effort.
“You always get concerned when something like that happens. How’s that going to impact the rest of the season, or the next race? Are you going to have to take a break? The way the races were spaced out and the way she came out of that race, the blemish was there but it didn’t change the path we were going with her.”
It sure didn’t.
Since then Test Of Faith has become a New York Sire Stakes champion and won the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, a Grand Circuit event, and most recently won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Red Mile last week.
She drew post seven in Friday’s first of two $131,000 divisions of the International Stallion and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite with driver David Miller. It will be her third consecutive start from a post seven, following the Bluegrass and Kentuckiana stakes.
“Hopefully we can get her in a similar position from last week where she settles in third or fourth and the opportunity opens up for her to do what she does best,” Jackson said.
Just what does she do best? Lots of things, according to the owner.
“That’s what makes her a special filly,” Jackson said. “Even after eight starts and seven wins, you can’t say how she has to be raced, because she’s raced so many different ways.”
Another strong trait is her ability to race at different sized venues.
“That’s another thing that makes her so attractive,” Jackson said. “It’s always difficult to be able to do it on small tracks and large tracks. When she went to Hoosier Park for the Kentuckiana Stallion Management (which his farm sponsored), she came home in :25.3; you just don’t see that.
“When you look at the last two starts, she goes to a bigger track. In earlier races she got out front because a lot of times on a smaller track it’s important to get yourself in position. And she can leave, but with the race at Hoosier Park and her first start in Lexington she sat in. At Hoosier she pulled a little before three-quarters, and the same thing with Lexington. At Lexington, she was first up for most of the last turn and then paced home the last eighth of a mile. Lexington was so impressive because David never pulled the plugs and never touched her. Who knows what we’re going to see this week?”
Whatever it will be, the connections are excited to see it. This is a horse that inspires excitement.
Bred by Fred Hertrich III, she was purchased by Segal for $92,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, and he quickly offered to let Kentuckiana and Gran, an assistant football coach at the University of Kentucky, have a piece of her. Segal previously owned Test Of Faith’s mom, Cannae Cammie, and bred stakes winners Alexis Faith (who he did not race) and Can’t Beach That, who he owned with Jackson and Gran.
“There’s clearly significant talent in the family,” Jackson said. “Melvin and (trainer) Brett Pelling selected Test Of Faith as a yearling, Melvin asked us if we wanted to be part of it. We jumped right on. Myself and my brother-in-law and partner (Bob Brady) loved the video. Brett loved the video. Obviously, we know the pedigree and had been involved with the pedigree before.”
Jackson lauded the job Pelling has done with Test Of Faith, and also complimented Segal as a partner.
“Brett Pelling is an incredible trainer,” he said. “He’s just an incredible horseman. Melvin and I have a great relationship, that’s what makes racing fun, having good friends that are good people that want you to be part of opportunities. It’s been a fun run.”
Test Of Faith is making it even more fun. She is hoping to finish the season with seven straight wins as Friday will mark her season finale. Miller will be in the sulky as he has driven her the past two races in Indiana and Kentucky after Marohn drove her in New York.
“The plan was to have her ready early, take advantage of the New York program,” Jackson said. “When you look at the time frame of when her first start in New York was (in early July) to the Breeders Crown, it’s a long season for a 2-year old. We decided to go with New York as our emphasis, do a couple of races in the Midwest and put her away fresh for her 3-year-old campaign and beyond.”
Although she will not race in the Breeders Crown, Jackson will have nothing but great memories of Test Of Faith’s freshman campaign.
“You never know how good it’s going to be,” he said. “But this has been a really special filly. Bob and I are just appreciative that Melvin asked us to come in. She stayed healthy all year it seems like; and Brett has been positive about her from the inception. She’s lived up to everything.”
In the second International Stallion division for the filly pacers, Blue Diamond Eyes is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She finished second to Fire Start Hanover in their Bluegrass division last week. Fire Start Hanover is the 3-1 second choice Friday.
There also are three divisions of the International Stallion for 2-year-old male trotters. The 7-5 favorite in the first is Mohawk Million winner Venerate, the 2-1 favorite in the second is Bluegrass division winner Delayed Hanover, and the 3-1 favorite in the third is Moonstone S.
For Friday’s complete Red Mile entries, click here.