McDermott hoping for perfect trip for "Kingcole"
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John McDermott has a dream. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with winning. It simply involves Hurrikane Kingcole getting the perfect off-the-pace trip.
Hurrikane Kingcole enters Saturday’s $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old pacers with a win and second-place finish from two starts this season. He is coming off a second-place finish to Fred And Ginger in last week’s opening round of the TVG Free For All Championship Series for older pacers at the Meadowlands.
Fred And Ginger won by a neck over Hurrikane Kingcole in 1:48.1, a career-best time for the 6-year-old horse and the fastest clocking by any horse so far this season.
Driven by Daniel Dube for trainer McDermott, Hurrikane Kingcole was fourth during the early stages of the race, but brushed to the lead on the backstretch after Yannick Gingras started to move Foiled Again from fifth place. Hurrikane Kingcole paced the second half of the mile in :53.1, but was unable to hold off Fred And Ginger, who led the first part of the race and then followed Hurrikane Kingcole into the stretch.
"I seem to help a lot of horses get lifetime marks,” McDermott said with a laugh, referring to setting the pace for stakes-record performances last year by Panther Hanover in the New Jersey Classic and A Rocknroll Dance in the Battle of the Brandywine. "I’m just waiting for the day when I get the trip.”
The day could be coming soon as Hurrikane Kingcole is part of a talented group of 4-year-old pacers ready to tackle the older horse division after successful careers at ages 2 and 3. Saturday’s 10-horse Meadowlands Maturity includes world-record-setting Adios winner Bolt The Duer, Meadowlands Pace champion A Rocknroll Dance, Cane Pace winner Dynamic Youth, 2011 world-record-setting Breeders Crown winner Sweet Lou and 2011 Ontario Sire Stakes champ Warrawee Needy.
"I want to see Warrawee Needy whacking a mile out, have Sweet Lou coming first up and (Hurrikane Kingcole) sitting on Sweet Lou’s back,” McDermott said, grinning. "That would be absolutely beautiful. You know what, if I got beat I could care less. Once I got that trip I’d be happy.”
There has never been any question regarding Hurrikane Kingcole’s ability to go fast. The difficulty lies in trying to launch the horse’s quick turn of foot at the best possible time.
"Getting him to relax is never a problem; the problem is starting and stopping,” McDermott said. "Danny said he’s been driving horses for 30 years and still can’t believe that was a :26.2 third quarter (last week). He felt like he was walking. That’s Cole’s greatest attribute; he can just fly.
"It’s kind of scary in the second start of the year he’s going (1):48.1. If you would’ve told me they were going (1):48.1 going into the race I would’ve told you that you were crazy. I thought for sure that was a (1):49 mile at best. He raced super, absolutely super. You get these race-ready older horses and they’re going to do what they do. Fred And Ginger has been racing; he’s much sharper, much tighter than Cole is.
"I was happy with (Hurrikane Kingcole’s) race. If Yannick wasn’t edging out, we could’ve sat another 16th, another eighth (of a mile), and it would’ve been beautiful. That would’ve been ideal. I’m glad he’s got his speed because eventually it will all pay off.”
Hurrikane Kingcole has won 11 of 33 career races and earned $529,227 for owners McDermott, Jeffrey Kuhen, John Levy Racing, Arthur Brewer II, Mitchell Cohen, Jeffrey Gordon, and Jonathan Klee.
"I’m selfish, I want to race Cole for the rest of his life,” McDermott said. "He truly is a pleasure to have around. He beats the daylights out of me, but even when I think I’ve had enough, I go back for more. I just love the day to day playing around with him.”
Following is the field in post position order for the Meadowlands Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. A Rocknroll Dance, John Campbell, Jim Mulinix; 2. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley; 3. Mel Mara, Ron Pierce, Tony Alagna; 4. Hurrikane Kingcole, Daniel Dube, John McDermott; 5. Dynamic Youth, Corey Callahan, Aaron Lambert; 6. Ideal Champ, David Miller, Joe Holloway; 7. Domethatagain, Callahan, Erv Miller; 8. Hillbilly Hanover, Pierce, Ron Burke; 9. Sweet Lou, Yannick Gingras, Burke; 10. Warrawee Needy, Jody Jamieson, Carl Jamieson. (Harness Racing Communications)