If trainer Dewayne Minor seems more cheerful than usual during the early morning hours around his stable, there is a reason. Wishing Stone is back in town.
A multiple stakes winner whose victories include the 2010 Kentucky Futurity, Wishing Stone has been racing in Europe since the end of his 3-year-old season. Minor, who owns the horse with TLP Stable, Jerry Silva and Deo Volente Farms, said Wishing Stone departed Sweden last week and would ship to Lexington's Red Mile after several days in quarantine.
"I can't wait to see him,” Minor said. "He's such a pleasure to be around. He gives you a 110 percent every time he races. To have a horse like that in the barn, it just makes you want to get up and go to the barn. I think I can speak for every trainer in the business on that. It gives you a great incentive to continue doing what you do.”
Wishing Stone's final appearance in Europe on Aug. 15 resulted in a second-place finish in the Jubilee Trophy for 5-year-old trotters at Solvalla Racetrack in Sweden. In June, Wishing Stone won the Copenhagen Cup, which was contested at a distance of 1 1/4 mile.
In 2011, Wishing Stone won the French trotting race Grand Prix du Sud Ouest at 1 5/16 mile and also the Kings Trophy in Sweden. He was second in the Gran Premio Continentale in Italy.
"He's relatively fresh, I would say,” Minor said. "He hasn't raced a whole lot because they only race every two to three weeks over there. He should be coming back in pretty good shape.
"He was trotting a mile and five-sixteenths, a mile and an eighth, stuff like that, so he'll have his wind in him, that's for sure,” the trainer added, laughing. "I'm going to have to bring him back up to speed again, get his muscles going again where he's speedy. There is way more speed here than over there.”
The last time Wishing Stone raced in the U.S., he won the Matron Stakes as a 3 year old at Dover Downs. In fact, Wishing Stone won six of his last eight starts in the States, including the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile and the American National Stakes at Balmoral Park. He was second to Break The Bank K in the Breeders Crown.
George Brennan drove Wishing Stone in eight of his 15 sophomore starts in North America, winning four (with the Futurity and Matron among them) and finishing second twice. For his career in North America, Wishing Stone had nine victories and earned $1.15 million.
Lexington has been a favorite place for Wishing Stone, who as a 2 year old won divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at The Red Mile.
"He's been really good there,” Minor said. "He's won four of five races there (and finished second once) and should feel right at home.”
Minor hopes Wishing Stone will be ready to race in the Pride In Progress Trot at Indiana Downs on Sept. 22. If not, the Allerage Farm Trot at The Red Mile on Oct. 7 is his next big dance. He also has the Breeders Crown and American-National on his schedule.
"There is a possibility we might race him again next year,” Minor said. "We'll see how it ends up this year and go from there.” (HRC)