Owner Tim Hauser believes Good Day Mate's best days are ahead.
The recently crowned Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion might get to show it Saturday when Good Day Mate faces seven rivals in one of five Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old male pacers at Lexington's Red Mile.
Saturday's Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-olds are only part of a star-studded card that include two Bluegrass divisions for 3-year-old male pacers and two more for 3-year-old female pacers.
Among the 3-year-olds in action are seven of the top eight money-earners in the age group: A Rocknroll Dance, Thinking Out Loud, Pet Rock, Sweet Lou and Bolt The Duer among the colts and American Jewel and Romantic Moment among the fillies. Also racing are Jugette winning filly Darena Hanover and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Economy Terror.
Good Day Mate's race, the fourth of the five Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-olds, features multiple-stakes-winner Captaintreacherous, who has won five of six starts this season. Good Day Mate, trained by Chris Oakes, has won three of seven races and finished no worse than second in any start. He will be driven by Dave Palone on Saturday.
"I can't say we've seen the best of him yet, because we haven't seen the best of him yet,” said Hauser, who is part of the Good Day Mate Partnership, which includes Fred Kruszelnicki, Chuck Pompey, Hauser Bros. Racing, J&T Silva Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and TLP Stable.
"We drew a tough division. I didn't want to face Captaintreacherous yet, but we're going to have to. Maybe this week we'll see who he is. If not, it's coming. He's been babied all year, which is good because you want to keep him healthy.”
Good Day Mate is a son of stallion Christian Cullen out of the million-dollar-earning mare Stienam's Place and is a half-brother to stakes-winners Put On A Show and Showherthemoney. He was purchased for $170,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale.
Christian Cullen, a standout Down Under sire who won the 1998 New Zealand Cup, stood in Pennsylvania in 2009. He is probably best known as the sire of pacing mare Royal Cee Cee N, who won the Betsy Ross Invitational in May at Harrah's Philadelphia.
"He's had some horses here that had success,” Hauser said. "Say all you want about bloodlines, but it comes down to the individual. Two or three years ago, I bought full brothers and full sisters (to successful horses) and thought I had a golden ticket. A lot of times, it doesn't pan out.
"But from day one, Chris always said (Good Day Mate) was the class of (our young horses). He thought if we had a chance for a champion, this was the one. What Chris told us is showing up.”
Good Day Mate has raced primarily on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit and bypassed the summer's open stakes. He heads to the Bluegrass off a win against older horses in 1:52.3 on Sept. 21 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Aside from an early-season qualifier at the Meadowlands, Good Day Mate has raced entirely on five-eighths-mile tracks as he gets set to compete at The Red Mile.
"We tightened him up at Pocono,” Hauser said. "He's not been heavily raced this year. The ultimate goal is the Breeders Crown at the end of the year.
"He's a darn good horse.”
The day is approaching to find out how good. (HRC)