Trainer Ray Schnittker told harnessracing.com Thursday morning at his barn at The Red Mile that his 3-year-old filly trotter Check Me Out, the top-ranked horse in North America, will make just two starts in Lexington, including going only one heat in the multi-heat Kentucky Filly Futurity on Oct. 7.
"I'm not going to race her in the second heat in the Filly Futurity,” said Schnittker as he prepared Check Me Out for a 2:20 training mile. "She's going only one heat. Then we're going to go to the Breeders Crown.”
Check Me Out's first start at The Red Mile will come Sunday afternoon where she drew post five in the last of three divisions of the Bluegrass. Schnittker's decision to then race just one heat in the Filly Futurity comes four years after he raced Deweycheatumnhowe in a three-heat Kentucky Futurity. Dewey won his elim but then finished third in the second heat, which forced a race-off against Celebrity Secret. Although Dewey won the third heat to take home the Futurity trophy, Schnittker vowed then he would never race a horse again in multiple same-day heats.
"It's cruel to the horses,” Schnittker said of having to race multiple heats.
A 10-time winner this year in 12 starts, including the Elegantimage, Del Miller Memorial, Zweig Filly and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) championship, Check Me Out's earnings of $843,833 brings her career total to $1,744,452 for Schnittker and Charles Iannazzo.
Check Me Out's 1:51.3 win in the Zweig at Vernon Downs may have missed the world record on a one-mile track by one-fifth of a second, but her 1:51.3 victory in the PASS championship set a new world mark on a five-eighths mile oval. Her record has led to her garnering 28 of 35 first-place votes in this week's Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll.
"It's good, and I hope she keeps it,” Schnittker said of the filly being ranked number one.