Hightstown, NJ — B A Superhero is already a super man to owner Patty Key.
Bred by Key’s husband, Bob, who passed away in January 2021, the colt will test his powers against nine rivals in Friday’s (May 27) $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadowlands. B A Superhero won a first-round preliminary division of the series on May 6 and finished third in a second-round split on May 13.
He is 5-1 on the final’s morning line, leaving from post five with Tim Tetrick driving for trainer Lucas Wallin.
“He’s gorgeous,” Key said about B A Superhero, who is owned by the family’s Winning Key Inc. in western Pennsylvania. “I told Lucas that all you need is a red cape on him. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this beautiful colt. I love him.”
Key’s connection to B A Superhero runs deep. He is a son of Muscle Hill out of the Keys’ standout homebred mare Win Missy B. As a 2-year-old, Win Missy B’s victories included the Peaceful Way and Goldsmith Maid, and she finished second to Dan Patch Award-winner Check Me Out in the Breeders Crown. The following year, Win Missy B captured the Kentucky Filly Futurity and was second to Personal Style in the Hambletonian Oaks and Maven in the Breeders Crown.
For her career, Win Missy B won 19 of 46 races and just shy of $1.6 million.
“She gave us a lot of thrills during her racing career,” Key said. “Bob loved every minute of it. It came out of the blue; we didn’t think much of her at first. Then, all of a sudden, she put it all together. We had a lot of fun watching her. And it’s been wonderful to see one of her babies develop like this. Lucas has done a beautiful job with him.”
B A Superhero has hit the board in 10 of 12 career races, winning four. Last year, he won a division of the W.N. Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands and finished second and third in his two Grand Circuit starts at Lexington’s Red Mile in October. He did not race again at 2 because of sickness.
“He showed a lot of potential last year and I think he’s going to be all right this year as well,” trainer Wallin said. “He came back really good. He grew and put on a lot of muscle. He’s a pretty big, heavy horse, and he can handle his gait better this year. He’s much smoother gaited. That’s a big plus of course.
“He needs to show a little more speed, but the way we train, he should just get better and better with time if he stays healthy.”
B A Superhero is one of nine Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the NJSS final. The others are Dexter Cup winner Brave By Design, Classic Hill, Looks Like Moni, Periculum, Pretender, Tachyon, Temporal Hanover, and Testing Testing.
Temporal Hanover, trained by Marcus Melander, won both of his NJSS preliminary-round starts. Winners of one preliminary division were Periculum, also trained by Melander, and the Nancy Takter-trained duo of Pretender and Looks Like Moni. Pretender, starting from post two with driver Yannick Gingras, is the 3-1 morning-line favorite followed by Temporal Hanover, leaving from post seven with Brian Sears, at 7-2.
“It feels like there are four or five horses that could win the race,” Wallin said. “That’s going to be exciting. We’ll see a little bit more where (B A Superhero) stands.”
“He’s got stiff competition in there,” she said. “He’s going to have to prove himself. We’ll see how he does.”
B A Superhero is one of 11 3-year-olds racing for Key this year. At the end of the season, she plans to exit from the racing side of the sport to focus on a boutique-type breeding operation. Key knew nothing about horses prior to meeting her husband of 38 years, Bob, who for decades was one of the sport’s prominent breeders and owners.
Bob Key co-bred and owned 1993 Hambletonian champion American Winner. He won a Breeders Crown in the inaugural year of the event, 1984, as a member of the ownership group of 2-year-old female pacer Amneris, and captured a second Crown in 2010 with his homebred 3-year-old male trotter Break The Bank K. He finished second in the Breeders Crown on seven occasions.
“I figure this is my last hurrah with my husband,” Patty Key said. “If he’s looking down from heaven, I just hope this makes him proud. It was a very hard decision to not be in the racing business anymore, but without Bob in it, you kind of lose the heart. He was the catalyst behind the racing. He brought us all into it. Without him, it’s not the same.
“But I never want to leave the business. I love the Standardbreds. I love them immensely. I didn’t know anything about horses until I met Bob. When we bought the farm and we started breeding, that’s when I fell in love with them. I love the foals and working out in the fields with them. That’s what I want to do. That’s a lot of fun for me.”
A horse like B A Superhero, though, could cause second thoughts.
“He may keep me in the racing,” Key said with a laugh. “I’ve been with Bob for all these years doing all this, so it’s hard to think of going cold turkey. Sometimes, you say you want to sell them and then one like this comes along, and maybe you change your mind.”
The New Jersey Sire Stakes championship for the 3-year-old male trotters is one of four NJSS finals on Friday at The Meadowlands. At 5 p.m. (EDT), prior to the start of the regular card at 6:20 p.m., there will be $100,000 non-betting events for the pacers.
The final for 3-year-old male trotters is race nine on the main 13-race card.
Two races earlier is the $240,000 final for 3-year-old female trotters. Fashion Schooner, the season’s fastest filly trotter with a mark of 1:52, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite from post six for trainer Jim Campbell. Venerable, the Nifty Norman-trained returning Dan Patch Award winner, is the 3-1 second choice from post nine. All 10 of the finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks.
TrackMaster past performances for all Meadowlands cards can be found at the track’s website here.