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Federal Flex returns in Simcoe Stakes

September 05, 2009
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Pacers are in the spotlight in three major stakes events this Saturday night at Mohawk. But the September 5 card also features two $142,153 divisions of the Simcoe Stakes, for three-year-old trotters – and the second of those divisions features the return of Federal Flex, Canada’s outstanding two-year-old trotter of 2008.
 
It has been something of a difficult year for Federal Flex, who has earned almost $280,000 as a three-year-old while still managing to be something of a disappointment to his connections. At the beginning of the season, expectations were high that the son of Muscles Yankee would take on and perhaps surpass the top American three-year-old trotting colt, Muscle Hill – but instead, Muscle Hill has utterly dominated his division, capturing the Hambletonian by six lengths and leaving Federal Flex a well-beaten ninth.
 
Trainer and co-owner Jeff Gillis has made few excuses for his colt, acknowledging that there have been some minor health issues but nothing that would completely account for Flex’s failure to regain his dazzling freshman form. “It’s frustrating,” he says. “People think I’m being elusive, but we really haven’t had the answer to why he has been under-performing.”
 
A post-Hambletonian endoscopy, however, revealed that Federal Flex had blood in his respiratory tract, a condition called exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), or colloquially, ‘bleeding’.
 
“We’ve added Lasix for Sunday night, and we think we’re on the right track,” Gillis says. “Bleeding has likely been the culprit, at least in the Hambletonian. Sometimes it doesn’t show in the trachea but they’re bleeding further down in their lungs. He schooled on Lasix on Monday, and he was better – maybe not his old self 100%, but better. We’re just going to have to see how he is under racing conditions.”
 
The morning line handicappers still have considerable faith in the colt, who is the 5-2 morning line favourite in his Simcoe division (race #6, post time 9:14 p.m.). Part-owner Jody Jamieson has driving duties as the colt leaves from post four. (WEG)
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