Parker has Hambletonian dreams with Breedlove
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Following the series, Breedlove is expected to compete in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. If all goes well, a trip to the Meadowlands for the $1 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 6 could be in his future.
"We liked what he looked like and his pedigree was pretty nice. Being a Cantab; I had (trotter) Chef Lee and liked him a lot. I thought I'd like a Cantab if I could get one, which everybody does of course. I loved the way (Breedlove) trotted on the video and just took a shot."
Parker owns Cantab Hall-bred Chef Lee, who last year finished second to Jacksons Minion in a division of the Arden Downs Stakes one week before Jacksons Minion finished fifth in the Hambletonian. Chef Lee wasn't eligible to the Hambletonian, but after seeing Jacksons Minion's performance Parker was left to wonder what might have been.
"I thought, that would be such a thrill; a neat thing," Parker said.
Breedlove finished off the board in his first two races last year, but then started to show improvement. By the time the colt won in 1:57.3 in his sixth start, Parker began thinking the colt might be open-stakes worthy, even toying with the idea of entering the Breeders Crown if the horse continued to make positive strides.
But Breedlove was found to be sick following his next start, finishing sixth in a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, and was unable to return to health in a timely manner so Parker decided to stop with him.
"He was a very slow comer," Parker said. "He's had some issues being around other horses, to get comfortable trotting around the other horses. It took a while for me to get the equipment on him that he needed. When he started racing he was a little green in doing things so we brought him along slowly. When he won his maiden race in (1):57.3 he did it real handily and we thought we were going in the right direction. We thought we could get him back (from his illness) but he didn't come out of it well so we just shut him down.
"We didn't get as much out of the year as we expected but I still thought I had a really nice horse to bring back this year," he added.
This year, Breedlove finished fifth in his seasonal debut --- and was found to be sick again --- but bounced back with consecutive victories in the Classicality Trot Series. He will start Tuesday's final from post No. 3 with regular driver Mike Wilder at the lines.
"He's so good gaited," Parker said. "He's got a good attitude. I just think there's a lot of upside to him. Everything is working to plan so far, using this series as a good experience and hopefully making some money and then taking a shot in the sire stakes. I know there are some nice horses there, but I think he's got the ability to trot with them."
Parker is thankful for the Classicality Trot Series and the opportunity to get more experience for Breedlove.
"It's a very good thing because you're not racing the older horses (in conditioned races) that have more experience," Parker said. "In a series like this, you can kind of educate (the horse) while racing your own kind. I think the tracks need to keep them going.
"You spend a lot of money on young horses to try to make them into solid racehorses that also are feeding our overnight races, and if you get lucky and get a stakes horse you can reap the benefits. That's where our racehorses come from; people buying young horses and developing them. Our sport needs more of them, so these are good races for that."
As for the Hambletonian, a trip to the Meadowlands on Aug. 6 could be a family affair in more ways than one. In addition to training Breedlove for his sister-in-law and her husband, Parker's sister Kathy has a well-regarded 3-year-old female trotter named in her honor.