He just needed a little attitude adjustment.
The horse has gotten just that thanks to trainers Frank Antonacci and Domenico Cecere, Antonacci’s Canadian right-hand man, and driver Scott Zeron.
After a rocky start, the horse has won five straight races -- including last weekend’s Kentucky Sire Stakes championship -- heading into Saturday’s eliminations of the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario.
|Nigel Soult photo|
|Master Of Law won the Kentucky Sire Stakes final by eight lengths in a time of 1:52.4.|
Master Of Law is the 7-2 second choice behind Corky in the second of two Canadian Trotting Classic elims. The top five finishers from each seven-horse division return for the C$700,000 final on Sept. 14.
“He’s just an impressive looking horse,” Antonacci said. “He’s a big horse. I haven’t measured him but I would guess he’s got to be about 17 hands. He takes huge strides. He can cover as much ground in one stride that other horses take in nearly two.
“He has really been great for us this year. He’s a talented horse. He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had. He’s just a little full of himself sometimes.”
The horse comes from solid bloodlines. His sire, Deweycheatumnhowe, was Trotter of the Year in 2008 and his dam, Possess The Magic, was a multiple stakes-winner and million-dollar earner.
Master Of Law was unraced as a 2-year-old, partly because of a penchant for going off stride too often, and also due to some physical issues.
“We just figured we would hold him out and get him ready for this year,” Antonacci said.
In his first race this year at the Meadowlands, with Tim Tetrick driving, Master Of Law broke again. After the race, however, Tetrick told Antonacci that the horse had plenty of speed.
The decision was then made to send Master Of Law to Canada, where Cecere helps run the operation at Antonacci’s stable up there.
“The main reason we sent him up there was to get Scott Zeron driving him,” Antonacci said. “Unfortunately in the States, and at the Meadowlands, drivers go in and out and you can’t get the same driver all the time.
“With this horse being so green and needing to learn how to race, I wanted him to develop a relationship with one driver. I think Scotty is one of the best drivers around. I talked to Scotty. I told them this horse has a lot of talent but you have to be patient with him, you have to teach him how to race. He’s good, but sometimes he thinks he’s too good.”
Thus, Cecere and Zeron went to work on turning Master Of Law from a horse who just wanted to trot breakneck, into a horse that has begun to understand the nuances of racing.
“He and Scotty have really developed a good relationship,” Antonacci said. “Sometimes I think people don’t realize how important that can be.”
Since the move to Canada, Master Of Law has been unstoppable. In his first race in Canada he made a break on the first turn, trailed the leader by 15 lengths at the halfway point and 10 lengths at the top of the stretch, but rallied for a one length win in 1:56.1 on a sloppy track.
“When I saw that he could do that, I knew we had something,” Antonacci said.
He won four more after that, including last Sunday’s $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship at The Red Mile in extremely convincing fashion. He defeated a field that featured three Hambletonian starters (including Yonkers Trot winner Deweycolorintheline) by eight lengths from post 10.
“He won convincingly,” Antonacci said admiringly.
His effort made one wonder how the horse would have fared in the Hambletonian.
“Some of my guys were kind of lobbying for that,” Antonacci said. “But with things going so well, and everything falling into place, I just thought it was better to keep him going the way he was. When you start to reach out for a race like the Hambletonian, that might not work out too well.”
Entering this weekend, the trainer likes his horse’s chances.
“He’s up where we started him,” Antonacci said. “He’s familiar with the track up there, and he’s right where we want him to be heading into the weekend.”
It’s all about the attitude.