Hightstown, NJ — Going to the track as a kid initiated Robby Bath’s interest in harness racing. Attending a Harness Racing Youth Foundation camp created his passion.
Bath participated in the HHYF program in the early 2000s. On Friday, the 33-year-old Pennsylvania native sends out Dame Good Time in the fifth of five International Stallion Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male trotters at Lexington’s Red Mile.
Dame Good Time, who won a Bluegrass Stakes division in 1:54.2 last week at the Red Mile and finished second to undefeated Karl in the Kentucky Sire Stakes Championship Series final on Sept. 17 at the same oval, will start from post one with Scott Zeron in the sulky. The gelding, bred and owned by Lexington’s John Cummins, is 5-1 on the morning line.
“He’s really coming into his own,” Bath said about the son of Chapter Seven-Dame Du Lac, whose family includes Grand Circuit winners Cartier Hall, Cash Hall, and Capetown Hall, as well as recent International Trot participant Aldebaran Zeus A. “We had some issues with his feet when we first got to Kentucky, but we got that squared away and he’s doing well.”
Bath’s harness racing journey began with his father.
“He never had horses, but he liked going to the track and would take me with him,” Bath said. “He also had friends that had Standardbreds and he would take me to the farm every once in a while.
“When the youth foundation camp came to Pocono Downs one year, I signed up for that. After that, I was hooked. I would go to the farm every weekend and during the summer, and one thing led to another until eventually I got my first horse. Slowly but surely, I got other horses. That’s how I got started.”
Bath had his own stable for several years, but since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has mostly assisted other stables. Dame Good Time is his sole focus right now.
Dame Good Time has started five times, winning once and finishing second twice. In his remaining races, he went off stride. His current form, which includes a :26.4 last quarter-mile in the Kentucky Championship, where he was timed in 1:53.4, has been promising.
“He’s got good closing speed and a pretty good head on his shoulders,” Bath said. “He’s a very smart horse. He doesn’t do too much wrong. He hasn’t been in a race yet where they’ve gone really fast fractions, so it will be interesting to see if he can chase through fast fractions and still come a fast last quarter. If he can do that, there is no telling how fast he can trot.”
Dame Good Time is eligible to the Breeders Crown later this month at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
“If all goes well Friday and he comes out of it OK, that’s our next step,” Bath said. “Fingers crossed for that.”
Friday’s five International Stallion Stakes for the rookie male trotters is headlined by the first meeting between Karl and millionaire T C I. The card also includes three ISS divisions for 2-year-old female pacers.