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Chi. speedster headed east

July 21, 2005

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Young slugger Pujols is headed to New Jersey. Not Albert Pujols, the young slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals, but Pujols, the 2-year-old colt pacer who is now headed for the $400,000 Woodrow Wilson at the Meadowlands.

Some may say the Wilson start might be ambitious for a colt who has made just four starts, all with purses of less than $6,000. But Illinois-based trainer Tom Harmer said he believes his horse will be competitive with the continent's best.

"We're headed to the Wilson. I don't know what we'll do when we get there, but we're headed there," Harmer told harnessracing.com Thursday morning, July 21. "He tied the season record last night so I have to assume he'll be competitive."

Harmer was referring to Pujols' 1:52.2 victory in a $5,200 conditioned pace at Hawthorne Wednesday night which equaled the fastest mile by a freshman pacer in North America in 2005. It was the second straight victory for the son of Cole Muffler that Harmer purchased on behalf of New York owner Michael Polansky following the colt's first lifetime start - a 1:56.2 win by 16 lengths at Du Quoin, Ill.

"We bought him because he just has sheer speed and desire," said Harmer. "He was not 100 percent; he probably wouldn't have vetted out for most people. But I always make exceptions, and the more talent they have the more exceptions I make. I've bought three horses before that were turned down by vets but they did very well for me for big money.

"He had three or four little problems, but for a horse that just made one start, to have three or four problems, when you are giving big money, you want them to be as close to perfect as you can," he admitted. "He had a little ankle problem in the right front, a curb in his left, and a couple ulcers in his epiglottis. He had a lot of little problems that could get better, or they could not get better. When they have that many problems, you have to stay right on top of it."

Harmer, who wouldn't reveal the purchase price except to say that "he was a high-dollar horse," said it appears Pujols' minor aches are pretty much behind him now. "We scoped him this morning and the two ulcers were about 95 percent gone; his ankle looks super now and it doesn't look like anything is wrong with it now. We only have a very little curb issue."

Harmer said he would be shipping Pujols to the Meadowlands Tuesday, July 26 in preparation for the Wilson elims July 29. He said the colt was also staked to the Governor's Cup in Canada later this year, as well as the American-National, Hanover and a few others.
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