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Mister Herbie upsets 2011 HOY San Pail

April 07, 2012

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It was no ordinary Saturday night for San Pail, the 2011 Horse of the Year on both sides of the border, as the 8-year-old trotter tasted defeat for the first time since July 16, 2011. Mister Herbie played giant killer as he reached the winner's circle first in the $125,000 final of the Glorys Comet Series Saturday at Woodbine. The mile time of 1:51.3 was a new series record.
San Pail, with regular pilot Randy Waples at the helm, sat comfortably in third position at the opening station in :26.3 before brushing to the lead before the midway point in :55.1. With San Pail setting the tempo, Mister Herbie and driver Jody Jamieson began the first-over attack around the final turn and quickly matched strides with the 51-time winner past three-quarters in 1:23.3.
Turning for home, a seven-horse race quickly became a two-horse race as Mister Herbie and San Pail separated themselves from the field and matched strides until San Pail gave way late as Mister Herbie notched his 13th career victory by a nose. Windsong Geant (Rick) Zeron finished third.
"He was obviously much better tonight,” trainer and co-owner Jeff Gillis said following the win. "He was about 75 to 80 percent healthy during the first leg because of his quarter crack, but we also discovered that he had an ulcer on his pallet which we were able to treat. Coming into tonight, I knew he'd be better, but I didn't know by how much. Judging by his performance, it's safe to say he's 100 percent.”
Gillis admits he believed in Mister Herbie's ability to defeat San Pail.
"I thought if we were at our best, we would be able to beat San Pail. Whether that day was tonight or later in the year, I wasn't sure. Other than the two European horses (in the Breeders Crown), I thought our horse as the most legitimate horse to take a run at him.”
Gillis was also quick to give praise to San Pail for his performance.
"San Pail raced a huge race in my opinion and he got stung hard to get to the front. I have nothing but absolute tremendous respect for the horse. We just got the better of him today and I'm sure he'll get the better of us in the future. This race just went out way. ”
Mister Herbie, a career winner of $454,403, is also owned by Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay.
Following the win, trainer and co-owner Rod Hughes was not disappointed by San Pail's effort.
"We can't be disappointed by his performance,” Hughes said following the race. "He got beat twice last year and bounced back. We have a long year to look forward to and I'm confident we'll have a successful one.”
Mister Herbie, a son of Here Comes Herbie, boasts a record of 3-1-0 from four starts this season. He paid $14.80 to win. (WEG)
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