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Shamardal the pacer

June 07, 2007

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When Shamardal, a contender for the Pepsi North America Cup, goes behind the gate at Mohawk Saturday night, he’ll be attempting to live up to the accomplishments of his famous namesake, the Thoroughbred European juvenile champion Shamardal, who in this case carries the same name because they were both bred by Fred Hertrich III.


“At the time I named him, it was very late one night and I just decided to use the names of the four most successful Thoroughbreds that I had bred for these Standardbreds,” explains Hertrich, who owns car dealerships in Delaware.


Hertrich bred the Thoroughbred Shamardal in partnership with John Fielding—who also shares ownership of the pacer Shamardal—and Dr. Phil McCarthy, a Lexington veterinarian who many years ago worked for historic Walnut Hall Farm.  While the Thoroughbred Shamardal became a champion, Hertrich and his partners had a much different experience with the horse. When the horse was diagnosed with wobbles, they settled with the insurance company and expected the colt to be euthanized.


You can read the complete story of the recovery of the young colt from wobbles, to becoming the property of Dubai’s Sheikh Maktoum and being named the top juvenile of his generation in Europe, in this story published by ESPN.


Meanwhile, the pacing colt named Shamardal’s journey to the races has been much less dramatic. Although he did not race as a 2 year old, the son of Life Sign-Allamerican Mocha had no life-threatening issues. “We found out he had a little hairline fracture,” relates Hertrich. “He showed so much speed that John (Fielding) and I figured he would just hurt himself, so we thought it was the best thing to wait on him, especially since his family had been slow developers.”


Hertrich, McCarthy and Fielding eventually hit a homerun because of Shamardal—the Thoroughbred—by selling his dam, Helsinki, for $3.9 million to the big Thoroughbred operation Coolmore.


So what are their chances of winning the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup?


“He’s coming around,” said Shamardal’s trainer, Scott McEneny, who also conditioned 2001 Cup winner Bettors Delight, after winning a Burlington division. “He was good tonight and Brad (Forward) gave him a great drive. He could surprise (in the Cup). He’s got good gate speed. I don’t think he’s as good as Bettors Delight, but he could be. He’s got a few lameness problems from last year, but we’re working on it. He seems to be getting better every week.”


In the Burlington, Shamardal was a 12-1 longshot. In his NA Cup elim he will square off against fellow Burlington victor Sutter Hanover.


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