Cooler Schooner, who last year trotted the fastest mile ever by a 2 year old on any size track, returns to the races Sunday in the second division of the Historic-Coaching Club Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Although she faces only four rivals, it will not be an easy test. The race also includes Jimmy Takter's Shake It Cerry, who was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter.
"It is what it is,” said Jim Campbell, who trains Cooler Schooner for breeder/owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms. "I'm just looking for her manners to be good and for her to get in a nice race.”
Last year, Cooler Schooner won four of 11 races and earned $133,231. Her 1:51.3 win in August in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Pocono Downs is the fastest trotting mile in history by a 2 year old.
But Cooler Schooner often got fired up early in her races and went off stride in three of her first five starts. She became more manageable as the season progressed, putting together a stretch of five consecutive starts without a break before taking a misstep in the Breeders Crown final.
Campbell says the miscue was not the result of a return to her old ways.
"She actually settled in nicely, but got running in on the turn,” said Campbell, who had watched Cooler Schooner win her Breeders Crown elimination by nearly 11 lengths in 1:52.2. "That's why she made the break.”
Cooler Schooner, a full sister to 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown winner Broadway Schooner, prepped for Sunday's debut by winning two qualifiers at the Meadowlands.
"I was very happy with both,” Campbell said. "It's going to be a good test on Sunday.”
Shake It Cerry is coming off a season-opening 1:55.3 win over a sloppy track at The Meadows in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on May 17.
Last year, Shake It Cerry won eight of 11 races and $827,769 for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Goldsmith Maid, Merrie Annabelle, and Matron Stakes. She brings a six-race win streak into Sunday's start.
Shake It Cerry is a half-sister to stakes-winner Dontyouforgetit and full sister to Solvato, who earned $300,931 in North America before heading to Europe. (HRC)