Into ev­ery de­but a lit­tle rain must fall

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

Like most horse train­ers, Tony O’Sul­li­van is mak­ing good progress on the ark he is con­struct­ing to deal with the un­prece­dented rain­fall the area is deal­ing with.

Qual­i­fy­ing races at Mo­hawk Race­track were can­celled, throwing an­other mon­key wrench into his sched­ul­ing in so far as three­year-old pacer Be­yond De­light is con­cerned.

The win­ner of last year’s Metro Pace was slated to de­but but now will be look­ing at Mon­day if con­di­tions im­prove. In the big scheme of things it is not a dis­as­ter, but it has O’Sul­li­van won­der­ing about his plans for the colt.

“I was hop­ing to qual­ify yes­ter­day and then in a week’s time with the idea of send­ing him to Po­cono Downs in Penn­syl­va­nia to race in a sires stake event there. Now that may change, but I’m just not sure,” said the Cam­bridge horse­man.

“Ob­vi­ously, the sched­ule is geared to the North Amer­ica Cup at Mo­hawk in June. One wants him to peak at the right time but it might end up that he stays in his own stall at Classy Lane Train­ing Cen­tre un­til then. He’ll tell me.”

Be­yond De­light is one of the most in­ter­est­ing horses to watch this spring. Last sea­son he made 11 starts earn­ing $423,000 be­fore the de­ci­sion was made to stop him with an eye to this sea­son.

“An er­ror was made in giv­ing him too much time off after win­ning the Cham­plain Stake in Septem­ber. I have learned that he is a bet­ter horse while he is rac­ing. He needs to get be­hind that start­ing gate to get his fo­cus,” says O’Sul­li­van.

“In­stead, he was off four weeks and I knew he was be­hind in his train­ing, so rather than scram­ble, we just stopped.”

With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, how does O’Sul­li­van feel about that de­ci­sion now?

“Noth­ing has changed. He has trained OK over the win­ter but I feel he’s got to get rac­ing. I’ve schooled him a cou­ple times, and even there he was bet­ter the sec­ond time,” he said.

“I’d heard that his great grand­sire Cam Fella was a horse that did not race well when trainer Pat Crowe gave him time off. But when raced hard and trained hard he re­sponded. I think Be­yond De­light is like that, too. And like Cam Fella and his own sire Bet­tors De­light, he is not a big horse although he thick­ened up nicely over the win­ter. And he likes money — that can mean a lot.”

O’Sul­li­van may well be cor­rect, but few in the in­dus­try seem to have ac­corded Be­yond De­light lit­tle recog­ni­tion. But it’s not the first time ob­servers have been wrong.

Al­most all of the off­sea­son at­ten­tion has been fo­cused on ri­vals Huntsville and Down by the sea­side, both sons of Some beach some­where, and O’ Sul­li­van un­der­stands why.

“Those two are by the lead­ing sire, and phys­i­cally they have a lot of pres­ence. Ide­ally, I would like to see our colt taller but he isn’t, and be­ing a big­ger horse can be a twoedged sword, too. Be­ing larger can take a phys­i­cal toll.”

Last year was last year and ev­ery­one is start­ing with a clean slate. Be­yond De­light was a gifted ju­ve­nile and now has to show that he can make the tran­si­tion to the next level.

“He was a $50,000 year­ling pur­chase by his owner Jeff Sny­der, so he has a li­cence to be a good horse, which he is. I can­not say for sure he will be this year but I like what I see, and if I’m right that he will keep rais­ing the bar with each start, they will know he’s a horse they’ll have to beat.”


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