Nearly a year after winning Yonkers Raceway’s signature race for 2-year-olds, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, Kwik Talkin will return to the Hilltop in Saturday night’s W.N. Reynolds Memorial. Kwik Talkin will start from post four as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the second of three $23,066 divisions of the Reynolds, his seasonal debut.
"Since the Rooney eliminations are next week, we figured we would just concentrate on racing him at Yonkers," co-owner Robert Robinson said. "We had to pay a $6,000 supplement to get him in, so probably the wisest thing to do was to concentrate on Yonkers to get him ready for the Rooney hopefully."
After his impressive 1:53.4 victory in the Sheppard in just his fourth start July 15, 2017, Kwik Talkin earned a win and two seconds in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes throughout the summer, earning a ticket to the PASS championship Sept. 4. Although an outside draw compromised him in the final, Kwik Talkin still earned $123,543 in eight starts last year. Not eligible for other stakes engagements, his connections turned him out early.
"He got shut down real early and my partners, that was the first horse they ever bought. They built a barn for him on their property and paddocks and that’s where he spent his time when he was off," Robinson explained. "He was off about three and a half months and that’s where he was at. I think recently they just put a walker in, they bought a broodmare, so they’re right into it now."
For Robinson, introducing new owners to the game and seeing them make a significant investment in the sport has been part of the thrill of owning a talented horse like Kwik Talkin.
"It’s really good. They ask a lot of questions. Sometimes you’re not used to that, but they’re pretty good," he said. "They’re good people and they bought in on three or four more yearlings last year. They bought a mare in Delaware. They have a really good spot now when the horses need to go out, they have a really good spot to go to."
After his hiatus on Scott and Lisa Henry’s farm, Kwik Talkin returned to Robinson to train down for his return. Robinson saw the son of Well Said out of the Cam's Card Shark mare Kwik Dial develop into a more athletic horse over the winter.
"He grew some and he’s still not a real big horse, but he’s athletic looking," he said. "He’s not big and heavy, which to me is good because that means he should have a long career. Some studs, they’re heavy and then they start to get lame really easy, just too much weight on the joints. I don’t think this horse will get like that."
Although he is confident Kwik Talkin is ready for his 3-year-old debut, Robinson admits Kwik Talkin is a difficult horse to gauge in the mornings. Last year, it wasn’t until Kwik Talkin’s second start at Rideau Carleton, when he paced to a 1:55 victory with Robinson in the sulky, that his talent became clear.
"He’s got a great foundation into him and everything, so I’m not worried about that. You just sort of get a little concerned because you’re not really 100 percent sure what they’re going to do until they get into a race," Robinson explained. "He had always trained good and he qualified good, but I didn’t really know how good he was until his second race at Rideau Carleton, then I had a better idea of what I had. I’m hoping after the race on Saturday, we’ll have a better idea of what we have."
Robinson qualified Kwik Talkin twice at Rideau Carleton. He finished second in a 1:57.4 clocking April 8 and won his next outing with broken equipment in 1:55.3. However, his second qualifier came one week later than anticipated as inclement weather forced Robinson to rework the horse’s schedule.
"He trained back, probably the same as he did last year. He does what he has to do," Robinson said. "I qualified him twice at Rideau Carleton. I was hoping to get him down there a week earlier than I did, but he was two weeks between qualifiers. We had a freezing rain storm here, so I got set back a week."
After shipping to trainer Rob Harmon, Kwik Talkin qualified again at Yonkers May 4, finishing second in 1:55 with regular reinsman Jordan Stratton at the lines. Kwik Talkin trained satisfactorily earlier this week ahead of Saturday night’s race.
"We were hoping to get him down a week earlier and get an overnight into him before the Reynolds, but we ended up qualifying him again," Robinson said. "He qualified well, Jordan said he was a little lazy. Rob did a little work to him. Jordan came out to train him (Wednesday) and Jordan said he was quite happy with him, so hopefully everything will go good on Saturday."
Stratton chose Kwik Talkin over both Mr Profeta and My Delight in the Reynolds division. Paprike Blue Chip, who finished second in the New York Sire Stakes final in his last start Oct. 14, will start from post six at odds of 7-2. I Soar Him First is a 9-2 chance from post seven after winning three legs of the Weiss Series and finishing third in the final at Pocono. Lyons Steel, Jimtastic, and Major Offense complete the field.
"Jordan had three drives and he took him, so I think that’s a good sign," Robinson said. "We had a good draw, so that will help. I think he likes Yonkers, he had two starts here last year and he raced super, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything goes well."