Johansson believes Blood Money poised to make noise
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Nancy Johansson was a fan of Blood Money before she ever got to train the horse. Now that the 3-year-old male pacer is in her stable, she is an even more ardent admirer.
Blood Money, who in 2018 was in the stable of Johansson’s father, the now-retired Jimmy Takter, won last year’s Matron Stakes on his way to $347,744 in purses for owner Diamond Creek Racing. His earnings ranked fourth among all 2-year-old male pacers last season, when he captured five of 13 races and hit the board 12 times. He was second in the Kentucky Sires Stakes championship and third in the Governor’s Cup.
On April 27, Blood Money made his seasonal debut for Johansson by defeating older horses in 1:50 at The Meadowlands Racetrack. Starting from post eight, the colt was in ninth place at the half-mile point, more than 10 lengths behind the leader, but rallied for a two-length victory at odds of 7-5 with Scott Zeron in the sulky.
Blood Money’s next start is Saturday in the first of three $30,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars divisions at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
“I always liked him a lot last year when my dad had him,” Johansson said. “I always had my eye on him. I told him that Blood Money is a good horse. I said he would be his best one.”
She added with a laugh, “It worked out good for me that my dad retired.”
Bred by Diamond Creek Farm, Blood Money is a son of Sweet Lou out of Blood Diamond. He is a half-brother to stakes-winners Blood Brother and Blood Line and hails from the family of Hall of Fame broodmare Arterra (dam of O’Brien Award-winner Western Terror and millionaire If I Can Dream) and Dan Patch Award-winner Delinquent Account (dam of Dan Patch Award-winner Artiscape).
Blood Money joined a Johansson stable that was already home to last season’s top 2-year-old male pacer, Dan Patch Award-winner Captain Crunch. The two colts possess similar dispositions.
“He’s very laid back, not fussy,” Johansson said about Blood Money. “He’s very easy to be around. I took him out jogging the other day and he stood still in the same spot for like 20 minutes just looking at the environment around him. I thought, oh, OK, I guess we’re enjoying the view today. He’s just super relaxed and nice. He’s showed some high speed too, so we’ll take that.
“The mental part is huge. That’s one of Crunch’s biggest assets too, he’s just so mentally chill. Nothing bothers him. You have to keep them together physically, obviously, but half my job is to make sure these horses are mentally there. If they’re naturally relaxed, it’s easier to do that.”
Following the Pennsylvania All-Stars, Blood Money will be pointed toward the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway (May 25 final; eliminations if necessary May 18) while Captain Crunch will make his seasonal debut on May 19 in the second leg of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, which will be at Pocono.
Both horses are eligible to a number of Grand Circuit stakes, including the North America Cup (June 15 final), Max C. Hempt Memorial (June 29), Meadowlands Pace (July 13), Adios (July 27), the Little Brown Jug (Sept. 19), and Breeders Crown (Oct. 26).
“The plan is to keep them separated as much as possible,” Johansson said. “I like Blood Money. He’s been really nice all along. I think he grew up a little bit from last year; he filled out a lot. I think that will help him carry himself a little better. He’s really good looking. I think he’s going to make a lot of his own noise this year too.” (Ken Weingartner/USTA)