Schooled and steered in his debut season by Isaac Waxman, Wilcox didn’t exactly take the world by storm as a juvenile. He was third in his two qualifying races on June 9 and June 15 at Mohawk Racetrack, before coming home fifth in his career debut in a $17,460 conditioned event on June 22 over the same oval. He was then transferred to the care of Tony Alagna after an eighth place finish at Grand River Raceway in a $6,208 non-winners contest on June 29.
Wilcox, the first and to date only foal out of the Western Hanover mare Dark Secret, who is a half-sister to Mattdultery (Real Desire, p,1:50.4f, $508,820) and Western Churchill (Western Ideal, p,1:51f, $143,804), then qualified on three occasions at Pocono Downs in the fall before being shut down for the year.
The gelding commenced his sophomore campaign on Jan. 3 in a qualifier at the Meadowlands and broke his maiden the following week in a $9,500 conditioned race. On Jan. 24 he finished second for the same amount of purse money and had his photo snapped for the second time on Feb. 1 in a $12,500 contest. His lifetime record currently stands at 5-2-1-0 with earnings of $14,248 and he established his lifetime mark of 1:53.1 in his last start.
Wilcox’s next task is to compete in the first leg of the Junior Trendsetter Series at the Meadowlands on Friday (Feb. 15). The race was pushed back a week due to the cancellation of last Friday's card from Winter Storm Nemo. In his previous draw, the gelding had collected the largest bankroll and held the fastest record.
“I think he has as good of a chance as anyone in there,” said Yannick Gingras, who has piloted the horse in his qualifying race and all three of his pari-mutuel starts this year. “He is still green and very immature, but has all kinds of talent. Only certain types of horses can perform at the Meadowlands compared to other tracks because most of the time there are no breathers here. Tony (Alagna) is a very, very good trainer and I think this horse has a good chance.”
Although Wilcox had an abbreviated season last year, that can almost certainly be attributed to letting his brain catch up with the size of his body as he is quite a physical specimen.
“He didn’t really race last year because he might have been just colt-sore,” Gingras said. “But he’s actually very nice to drive. He is a little on the lazy side, but he’s a big, strong colt that when you ask him to go he’s very willing and has a good attitude. Tony is very patient with his horses so he took his time and brought him along slowly.”
Gingras feels multiple weekly legs of the series after a minimal amount of racing experience will only aid Wilcox in his development.
“He still has some baby fat on him,” he said. “They decided to race him last week (Feb. 1) and he needs the racing for the experience. I don’t think the four or five starts in a row will bother him at all.”
In his sole loss this year, which was only by a neck to I Do Hanover, a rival he had defeated the previous week, Wilcox was on the front end, yet Gingras thinks that might not be this horse’s best style.
“I think he might be a bit better following,” he said. “He was on the front and the horse that beat him raced him and then came back and won, so there is no shame in getting beat like that. He came back last week and kind of knew a little bit more of what it was all about. When we got to the top of the stretch I called on him and he was strong. I really do like his chances.”