Trenton, NJ – Tim Hauser couldn’t help himself.
He wanted to keep things casual, but Cupid aimed his arrow and hit the owner of trotter Frau Blucher right through the heart.
“We’re very proud of her and very proud of her no matter what,” Hauser said. “With all of her accomplishments and tears she brought all of us, I just get choked up, because she’s been my first horse that … well, you’re not supposed to fall in love with them, but I couldn’t help it. I cried the first win she had.”
And just what did he fall in love with?
“When you buy a $21,000 yearling your expectations are not as high,” he said. “I’ve bought yearlings for a lot of money and they’ve done nothing. But you don’t go by the price tag. One thing you can’t see when you buy a horse, and that’s its heart and its determination. She wasn’t expected to be a world champion.”
USTA/Mark Hall photo Frau Blucher set the world record for fastest mile by a 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track when she won the Buckette in 1:53.1 at Ohio’s Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The 4-year-old mare still is getting ready for this year after having a successful 2013 season under the handling of trainer Chris Oakes.
Despite having the misfortune of racing in the same division as Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, Frau Blucher won six of 16 races and $511,089 last year. In a dead heat for first with stablemate Classic Martine, she won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for the second consecutive year, and finished second to Bee A Magician in both the Breeders Crown and Delvin Miller Memorial.
She also set the world record for fastest mile by a 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track when she won the Buckette in 1:53.1 at Ohio’s Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The ownership group of Hauser, his brother Jim, Oakes’ wife Susan, and Hauser’s longtime friend Matt Tudisco, toyed with selling the horse in January but thought better of it.
“We did some minor changes to her,” Hauser said. “We gave her a well-deserved vacation in North Carolina, she came back and we started training her down.”
They also had minor throat surgery performed on Frau Blucher.
“We hope that might help her; we’re unsure yet,” Hauser said. “At the end of last year I don’t think she was getting enough air. But who knows, she had to race against what could be the best horse of all time.
“She’s in training now. We have a lot of hope that Frau can turn into a super mare. We’ll see what happens. Every year is a new year.”
In looking back on things, Hauser does nothing but heap praise on Bee A Magician, but wishes his horse had a little better luck. At the Hambletonian Oaks, she went off stride after hitting the back of the sulky in front of her. Hauser said it seemed Frau Blucher often drew an outside post when she raced against Bee A Magician.
“Don’t take anything away from that Bee A Magician,” he said, reiterating that, “She could be the best horse ever. But in defense of Frau, I don’t think she ever had the post position draws against her. Everything hasn’t been perfect. She could have been a better horse than we know. Even at the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, you’re racing against the best bred horses in the world and she gets the (seven) hole and gets clobbered out of there.”
But Frau Blucher showed that aforementioned heart and determination to get the win, and her connections are hoping for more of the same this year. Hauser said Oakes is making sure of everything, but hopes to see her 2014 debut in the next week or two.
“I talked to Chris a couple weeks ago, and my personal feeling is if I miss a race, just take your time with her,” Hauser said. “We’ve got to be ready for November (and the Breeders Crown). When we won that (sire stakes) at The Meadows, five days later she set the world record in Ohio. After that race, she started getting tired. Her last race at Balmoral (in the American-National Stakes), it just wasn’t the same horse that we had seen before that.”
Tim has no problem putting everything in Oakes’ hands, especially with the challenging season Frau Blucher faces.
“I don’t call the shots, I only pay the bills. I can only make recommendations,” he said. “Chris manages this horse. She’s just shy of a million dollars. Obviously some horses race good at (age) 2 and don’t come back at 3. But she raced good at 2 and 3.
“We pray that she becomes a super open mare. But this will be the toughest year for open mares ever in history of the sport. They’re not getting turned out and getting bred. They’re all out there racing.”
Hauser is happy to have Oakes as his trainer. He sold Tim on his qualities after they first met when he told him, “I’m part horse.” He also saw something in Frau Blucher, telling the owner to “keep up the payments on this one.”
“Chris Oakes doesn’t get the recognition of some of these top trainers,” Hauser said. “I give all the first recognition to God, second to the horse and the third recognition to Chris Oakes. Without his knowledge and basically his patience of bringing this horse along, this horse wouldn’t be where she is.
“Chris has a lot to do with that. You can do a lot with a horse, but it takes a lot to make champion. You have to have brains behind it.”
Frau Blucher, who originally was named Bella Lisanti, is named after the disagreeable housekeeper whose mere name made other horses whinny and neigh in the movie “Young Frankenstein.” The idea hit Hauser while watching the movie on a flight to Hawaii.
“That’s a classic movie, maybe the best Mel Brooks movie ever,” Hauser said. “I saw it and thought that would be a laugher to name a horse Frau Blucher. I told my accountant I was going to do that and he started laughing.
“She is definitely Frau Blucher. When I mentioned it to one person that works for me, he said ‘Wouldn’t that be a kick in the butt if that horse turned into something.’”
She has turned into something special, and Hauser now jokes about future monikers.
“Maybe I’ll name one Cheech & Chong,” he said.
That might be a little dangerous. If this one is definitely Frau Blucher, it would be a bummer if Cheech & Chong went up in smoke.