San Pail's trainer, Rod Hughes, who along with his wife Emily also shares ownership of the 2011 Horse of the Year with Glenn Van Camp, told harnessracing.com that although he had contemplated traveling to Sweden for Sunday's Elitlopp in a "scouting trip” for a possible journey in 2013, he has decided to remain at his Ontario home.
"I'm not going to go,” Hughes said late Tuesday afternoon. "I've kept in contact with (Rick) Zeron and what he went through with transportation and all he had to do with his horse (Windsong Geant). I've been staying in close contact with how things are operating and I'm pretty good friends with some grooms who are going so I think I'll have some pretty good advice from them when they get back. Then I'll be able to make up my mind as far as next year.”
On the verge of reaching the $3-million mark in earnings for his career, the 8-year-old San Pail has made four starts this year, winning his first two in the Glorys Comet preliminaries at Woodbine before finishing second in the $126,500 final by a nose to Mister Herbie. San Pail then finished three-quarters of a length behind in second to Windsong Geant in an April 23 Open.
"He went two tough trips,” Hughes answered when asked about the pair of second-place finishes. "He got beat a lip in the Glorys Comet and that was a little bit tough. But he raced a big mile.
"They were tough but he came out of them good. He's actually getting a little bit fat on me. I thought he was losing a little bit of weight when we raced him a few times, but now he's put it back on.”
Hughes said he plans on qualifying San Pail some time in the next couple weeks.
"I've been in no rush with him. I just thought I'd give him a little bit of down time and freshen him back up,” he said. "I'll start him back up around the first of June. I'll qualify him at least once and if it has to be twice, it will be twice.
"We have the opens at Mohawk and he likes that track. Hopefully three or four starts before the Maple Leaf Trot, that's what we're looking at. If it all works out and he races good, then we'll go to the Nat Ray.”
As for the 2013 Elitlopp, Hughes concluded, "It's definitely something we're talking about in the barn, and next spring it's a very good possibility.”