Check Me Out 7-for-7 heading to Champlain
August 29, 2011
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Trainer Ray Schnittker is no stranger to training top horses that compete at the highest level. The veteran conditioner has a long resume of rich performers including the 2008 Hambletonian winner, Deweycheatumnhowe ($3,177,112) and 2010 Meadowlands Pace winner, One More Laugh ($2,288,505), just to name a few.
Now, the Middletown, N.Y., resident has another top performer in Check Me Out. The freshman daughter of Donato Hanover-Illusion Bi will look to remain unbeaten in her career when she lines up behind the gate in the second of three $89,267 Champlain Stakes divisions this Thursday at Mohawk Racetrack.
The seven-time winner is the richest 2-year-old trotting filly in North America with $245,925 in earnings and the fastest rookie trotter with a speed badge of 1:54.2.
"She wasn’t the easiest horse to break," Schnittker recalled. "She just didn’t know what she was suppose to do. I had to toe her for the first few months so she would learn what it’s all about."
Check Me Out did not go through the sales ring, but that didn’t stop Schnittker from getting his hands on the bay filly.
"Steve Jones (Cameo Hills Farm) had the horse in the Lexington sale last fall, but decided to pull her out. I have known Steve for many years and decided to purchase a share of her along with my partner Charles Iannazzo. The price was $80,000."
Coincidently, Jones also was the breeder of Deweycheatumnhowe.
This season Jones would be delighted to see Check Me Out race at the top level in rich stakes events, but it will be bittersweet as the dam of Check Me Out, Illusion Bi, passed away.
Check Me Out captured this year’s edition of the $333,200 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands, but Schnittker didn’t think he had a contender until late spring.
"She was starting to put it all together in May and acted like a professional," he said. "From that point on, she became the real deal. After her first few starts I knew I had a top threat for the Merrie Annabelle and she proved me right."
Looking ahead to Thursday’s contest, Schnittker says his star trotter remains in excellent form.
"She should have no issues in the Champlain," he stated. "She’s the type of filly that you can do anything you want with her. She’s becoming classier and classier with every start."
Check Me Out remains eligible to the Peaceful Way stakes at Mohawk and the Breeders Crown at Woodbine this season.
The Champlain Stakes divisions will go to post in races two, six and nine with the following post positions assigned.
1) Adreamcomestrue As
2) Muscles Soul
3) Garbo Blue Chip
4) Cool Creek Breeze
5) Twin B Sensation
6) Witch Way
7) Lady Andi
1) Superstar Hanover
2) Counter Pointe
3) Xquisite Chocolate
4) Check Me Out
6) Tyrany Seelster
7) Princess Fortune
8) Miss Paris
1) Frisky Strike
2) Talbotcreek Jewely
3) Day Dream
5) Raising Roxanne
6) Its All Magic
7) Flower Bouquet
8) Love Walked In