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Flyhawk El Durado is a little horse with a big heart
Thursday, June 12, 2014 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- He doesn’t expect Flyhawk El Durado to be in the winner’s circle this Saturday night (June 14) at Mohawk Racetrack for the C$272,100 Goodtimes final, but Mark Ford does know this colt, who is tiny but tough, will trot his heart out to get himself there.

“He’s a nice little horse,” Ford said. “I’m going to be realistic though because he’s not in the same league with Trixton. We are racing for second or third but we are hoping for that second place check. Our horse tries so hard, has a great attitude and is super gaited, but he just doesn’t have that kind of horsepower.”

Flyhawk El Durado will take on that rival for the third occasion already this year at 7:44 p.m. in race four on the Mohawk card. He will leave from post position four with Yannick Gingras in the bike and is under the watchful eye of Jeff Gillis while he is north of the border. The colt stands at 8-1 on the morning line and is the third choice behind heavily favored Trixton (2-5) and Harper Blue Chip (5-1).

 
Mike Lizzi photo
Flyhawk El Durado enters the Goodtimes final with $354,211 in career earnings.

Bred by Kathleen and Andrea Pratt of New Woodstock, N.Y., Flyhawk El Durado is a son of Conway Hall and the El Paso Kash mare El Paso Gal. As a freshman in 2013, he raced twice for trainer Jimmy Whittemore in New York Sire Stakes company and was second at Buffalo Raceway on June 30 and then victorious on July 11 at Monticello Raceway. Martin Scharf purchased him on July 14 and he took up residence in Mark Ford’s barn.

In his first start under new ownership, Flyhawk El Durado annexed a $23,418 division of the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga Downs on July 18. The colt competed on six more occasions as a 2-year-old, compiling a bankroll of $301,076, a record of 9-6-1-1 and a lifetime mark of 1:57.3f. He capped off his season with a triumph in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final on Sept. 28 at Yonkers Raceway.

The only reason Ford decided to begin Flyhawk El Durado's winter vacation early was because he was not nominated to any other races, so he elected to prepare him for a sophomore campaign.

After three qualifying races in April, the colt commenced his 3-year-old season with a third place finish behind Odds On Amethyst and Trixton in a $17,500 conditioned contest at the Meadowlands on May 2. Flyhawk El Durado’s next start was another third place finish to Trixton and Lukas Hall in the $51,543 John Simpson Memorial on May 9 over the same oval.

On May 23, he traveled back to the Empire State and garnered his first victory of the year in a $62,400 New York Sire Stakes event at Tioga Downs and then came home a very easy winner in his $27,300 Goodtimes elimination at Mohawk on June 6 in a lifetime best of 1:54.1s.

After he contests the Goodtimes, Flyhawk El Durado will return to New York and race primarily over that state’s surfaces for the rest of the year.

“He is really a terrific horse for the New York program and that is what we are going to do with him,” Ford said. “The only reason we took him up to Canada is because he was not eligible to the Empire Breeders Classic, therefore, he had a big hole in his schedule. He raced super last week and I don’t have one complaint about it, but he did get in the right division so that helped too.”

Ford and Scharf truly don’t have any big dreams for this horse to be a part of a certain race with a million dollar purse the first week in August.

“I’m telling you some other horses may be getting more attention right now, but I think Trixton may be the best colt out there when it comes down to the Hambletonian,” Ford said. “You can even drive him like a car. He is just cruising out there. I don’t think there is much sense in (declaring Flyhawk El Durado) to that race for (a $15,000 entrance fee) when the best you could hope for is to be competing for fourth place money.”

Although Ford does not regard Flyhawk El Durado as an elite 3-year-old, he is extremely pleased to have him in the barn and expects him to do quite well where he is spotted.

“He tries so hard every race and does everything right,” he said. “I’m not going to say he doesn’t have any talent, because that’s not true, but he just can’t go as fast as some of these other horses. It’s like he is a Volkswagen racing against Maseratis. He is the perfect horse for the New York circuit and he can do tremendous there, but he just doesn’t have the horse power the top ones in this group do.”

Goodtimes Final
Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
1-See The Wind-Brian Sears-Chris Beaver-15-1
2-Massacaia-Trevor Henry-Richard Moreau-20-1
3-Verdi-Paul MacDonell-John Bax-20-1
4-Flyhawk El Durado-Yannick Gingras-Jeff Gillis-8-1
5-Trixton-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-2-5
6-Massive Talent-David Miller-Nifty Norman-15-1
7-Pasadena Star-Randy Waples-Robert McIntosh-20-1
8-Il Sogno Dream-Ron Pierce-Chris Beaver-10-1
9-Speak The Truth-Tim Tetrick-Linda Toscano-15-1
10-Harper Blue Chip-Sylvain Filion-Mark Steacy-5-1


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