OK Boromir seeks the Upper Canada Cup

by Chris Roberts, director of racing operations, Great Canadian Gaming Corp.

Innisfil, ON — OK Boromir will need to muster all the heart of his Lord of the Rings namesake if he’s to conquer his eight foes in Saturday’s C$480,000 Upper Canada Cup at Georgian Downs.

Flash back to last Saturday night, where a front end journey led the colt and his pilot Luc Ouellette to the winner’s circle following his elimination heat in a lifetime best of 1:53.4.

Being in the last Cup elimination meant it could well be 3:00 a.m. by the time 65-year-old Wray Thompson returned to his Thorndale, Ontario home. But as he reflected on the win in the Georgian Downs paddock, all thoughts of self were secondary. Energized by the win, he zestfully helped his partner and trainer Frank Baker, Jr. strip the sweaty harness from their big bay colt.

For now all digits were mentally crossed, anxiously awaiting the all-important post position draw for the richest race ever for Ontario-sired sophomores. The draw took place quickly after the ninth race and all went well — the two hole in the hugely-competitive nine-horse field, just inside the firehouse hot Oscar Oscar.

OK Boromir’s tale is the classic “little guy makes good” story that keeps everyone’s spirits buoyed in the always uncertain racing business. The 28-year-old Baker, who trains a small stable of overnight horses out of his Dorchester, Ontario base, haltered OK Boromir at the 2007 Forest City Yearling Sale for a mere C$14,000, not a princely sum for the first foal of a mare who’d won over $325,000, and from the second crop by a Triple Crown winner. Hours later he sold a half interest to Wray and Janet Wilson.

Interestingly, OK Boromir began life as an embryo harvested from Oak Knoll Farms’ rugged Albert Albert mare Double Crème while she was still racing. He was born and raised by a surrogate Standardbred broodmare at the classy Campbellcroft, Ontario farm owned by Ken Morden and his wife Caroline Thornton.

Last year The No Pan Intended youngster impressed many with flashes of brilliance to bank over $95,000. But Baker’s prize pupil had a few setbacks along the way.

“We had his wolf teeth taken out, and unfortunately a few fragments remained, causing a dental abscess that affected him in mid-season,” he said.

This year OK Boromir is a lot bigger and stronger but maintains his easy-going disposition.

“He’s just a great horse to work around, not a mean bone in his body,” said the personable Baker.

“He is lazy though,” he added, “but we’ve got the right man on him for a lazy horse. Luc’s the best.”

It would be a long haul home for the connections of OK Boromir, but tonight the miles would fly by. The more time to savor the win, and to dream about the Upper Canada Cup finale, worth a cool half-million.

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