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Buck I St. Pat looking for Armbro Flight redemption

June 27, 2008
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\"She’s more consistent this year. Last year she’d throw in a clunker every now and then.\" That’s how trainer-of-record, Ron Parsons, describes 5-year-old Buck I St. Pat, who makes his barn her home when racing in Canada. And one of the ‘clunkers’ he’s referring to was last year’s edition of the Armbro Flight Stakes.
 
After wowing onlookers at the Mohawk oval in the Classic Oaks, where she beat the likes of Birminghim and Passionate Glide in both the elim and the final, Buck I St. Pat finished a disappointing eighth in the Armbro Flight, some 5 3/4 lengths behind victor Lavec Dream.

\"Yeah, she’d break behind the gate sometimes, usually in the big races,\" Parsons says. The pattern was similar in June, 2006, when Buck I St. Pat scored a victory in the Casual Breeze Stakes at Woodbine, won her elimination of the Elegantimage Stakes, and then self-destructed behind the gate in the final.

\"She was battling some soundness issues too--ordinary racehorse stuff--but the Burkes (trainer Mickey Burke, has charge of the mare in the United States) have got her good now.\"

Indeed, Buck I St. Pat has had a dazzling start to her 2008 season, winning nine of 12 starts and placing second twice. She has racked up over $300,000 this year for owners Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold, Abraham Basen and Ron Fuller, and set a world record for trotting mares on a five-eighths mile track with a 1:52.2 clocking in the $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial, at Harrahs Chester, in May.

She comes into the 2008 edition of the $361,225 Armbro Flight Stakes, for trotting fillies and mares three and up, having scored handily in last week’s elimination in a time of 1:53.2. Little wonder she’s rated the 8-5 favorite.

\"We were pretty confident going into the Armbro Flight last year,\" says Parsons, \"but she came up sick after that performance, which helped explain why she misfired.\"

The daughter of Jailhouse Jesse had three months off over the winter and seems to have come back fresh and full of trot. \"The Burkes thought about going to Europe with her,\" says Parsons, \"but it just beats the hell out of your horse, so in the end they decided to keep her home.\"

The Cambridge, Ont.-based trainer says Buck I St. Pat is a pleasure to have in his barn, and easily \"the biggest mare I’ve had, though I’ve got a trotting filly I’m going to qualify soon who I’m pretty excited about, named Northern Daisy.\" He credits the Walter Whelan family for helping boost his training career beyond the Maritimes and attracting the likes of this top trotting mare to his shedrow.

Leaving from post position three, Buck I St. Pat will also enjoy the driving expertise of Tim Tetrick in her second stab at the Armbro Flight. Can he hold her together, and fend off the considerable challenges of Mike Vanderkemp charges Up Front Hotsey and Wildfire Julie, as well as Godiva Hall, Susies Magic, and Snazzy Millie?

Catch the action on Saturday night at Mohawk, when the Armbro Flight Stakes final will be part of a stakes triple-header along with the Roses Are Red final for pacing fillies and mares, and three flights of the Summertime Pacing Series. The Armbro Flight is race five, post time 8:54 p.m. (WEG)

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