Elmo Blatch’s acquisition exhilarates his owner

by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Kim French

Columbus, OHAlthough his appearance was brief Elmo Blatch clearly stole the show in The Shawshank Redemption and like his namesake, the equine Elmo Blatch has definitely turned heads during his recent sojourn at Miami Valley Raceway. However, unlike the original Elmo Blatch, this 5-year-old gelding, who is an older half-brother to world champion Walner, is attracting attention for his stellar performances on the racetrack after a short stint pulling a buggy for the Amish.

“I have a lot of connections in the Amish community,” said David Lough, the horse’s new owner and trainer. “I received a phone call early this winter about a horse they thought could really go, so we went to look at Elmo and brought him home. He is a very handsome horse, he’s very sound and of course he had that pedigree.”

Prior to his stay with the Amish, Elmo Blatch, a son of Andover Hall and O’Brien Award winner Random Destiny, compiled a resume of 12-4-0-0, banked just under $20,000 and trotted in 1:58.3. The first foal out of his dam, the gelding went through the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale ring for $50,000 in 2014 under the name of Randover.

Conrad photo

This year, Elmo Blatch has been superb with a record of 12-7-1-0 and $62,495 in purse money.

Elmo Blatch did not compete as a freshman and only faced the starter on four occasions as a sophomore. Since arriving at the Loughs, the gelding has absolutely blossomed. In his two races at Dayton to cap off 2017, he was third and then second in two non-winners contests for his new connections.

This year, Elmo Blatch has been superb with a record of 12-7-1-0 and $62,495 in purse money. At one point he won five consecutive races while climbing up the class ladder, with his win streak halted in his first appearance in the Miami Valley Open on April 15. He has also lowered his lifetime mark to 1:55.2.

“My son Tylor drives him and he didn’t win (fourth place) in the Open last week, but he stuck his nose in front for a minute and still was right there with them,” Lough said. “We’ve never had a horse that was capable of winning an Open against all the best horses at the track. It was really some kind of thrill for us and we are hoping for more of those to come with him. It’s very exciting.”

Lough did not reinvent the wheel or make any major adjustments to Elmo Blatch’s equipment. He merely introduced the horse to his training regimen, which seems to suit the gelding quite well.

“I have a pool here at my place and all we do is swim him and turn him out,” Lough said. “We just let him be a horse most of the time and he has his friend he goes out with. He seems to be enjoying himself and he just does everything so well. He eats well, he plays well and he even swims well. He is so good when it comes to doing anything, I only have to swim him five or six minutes because he gets so much out of it.”

A former government employee, Lough is now retired and although he and his wife Amy have always owned several horses, now is the time for them to delve a bit deeper in the business. Tylor is right beside his parents, as he hopes to launch a career in the sulky.

“My dad had horses that he trained and raced, but he never let me around them all that much,” Lough said. “I played baseball, so I did that and went to college and then went to work. Now that I am retired I have the time to spend with the horses and with the money Elmo has made, he might have helped pay to expand our pool or make some changes to our property.

“Tylor just loves everything about the horse business; he loves training, driving, taking care of the horses. He was so excited after the first time we raced Elmo. He came back to me and said, ‘Dad, this horse is different. He could be an Open horse.’”

It appears Tylor was correct in his assessment as the Loughs plan on racing Elmo Blatch at the local facilities or travel to The Meadows for engagements under his current conditions.

“Maybe he’s not what you would call a big horse, but he is to us,” Lough said. “Not only is he special because we’ve never had this type of horse, but for Tylor to be able to drive him when he is looking to become more involved in the sport means the world to us. It is like he just happened to come along at the perfect time. I’ve had calls from people wanting to buy him, but I think he’ll just stay right here with us; he is like a part of our family now.”

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