A ‘Force’ under the radar

by Jason Bluhm

It’s not too often that a 3-year old that is tied as the leading dash-winner in North America goes relatively unnoticed, but that’s exactly what has happened with True Force, a winner 14 times this year.

True Force will make his first big-money race debut on Sunday at Flamboro Downs in the Confederation Cup. He’ll start from post position five in the first elimination and has been installed as the 5/2 morning line favorite.

Flamboro Downs photo

True Force has won 14 races so far in 2005.

The gelded son of Falcon Seelster has a mark of 1:50.2, but was not staked in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, so he’s found himself in conditioned classes against older horses. Racing fans like at Freehold and The Meadowlands have probably confused him for an aged veteran with the way he has raced. However, True Force did not always “look the part” and “walk the walk.”

When owner Leonard Bogner of New Jersey received a phone call last year from agent Larry Miller about a 2-year-old gelding racing on the Chicago circuit, he wasn’t exactly blown away by the horse’s performance. True Force was racing in a non-winners of 1 PM/$6,000 claimer at Balmoral Park. When the young gelding headed east to Yonkers to race in the Hopeful series, however, Bogner began to pay a little more attention to True Force.

The son of Falcon Seelster circled the field in his first two legs, the latter in 1:58 flat. He finished second in the third leg, but a parked out first-over trip in the final proved to steep for True Force to overcome and he finished fourth. But Bogner had seen all he needed to see in order to pique his interest in the gelding. Bogner and partner Stefano Scarogni purchased True Force, placed him with trainer Ken Rucker and driver George Brennan, and have enjoyed 13 wins in 14 starts since. All have come in conditioned classes at Freehold and The Meadowlands.

“After his first start, we knew he was the real deal,” Bogner said. “He was racing against older, more experienced horses and circling the fields. That’s when we began to set aside some supplement money for him.”

Leonard hinted that if True Force does well on Sunday, he may be supplemented into the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown.

“He’s a little horse, nothing flashy; all grit. He just loves going by horses,” commented driver George Brennan, who has been the driver for all 14 starts for Bogner.

True Force has 17 starts this year, and has amassed 14 wins, one second, and one third, and has yet to miss a check this year. He has earnings of $111,252. He also raised a few eyebrows with a qualifying win on July 29, in which he beat Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover by a neck in 150.4, with a last quarter of 26 flat.

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