But Bootstrap Yankee always will be a big part of the story when Frank Chick talks about getting possibly his best horse ever, Yankee Bounty.
Yankee Bounty is undefeated in six starts as he heads into Saturday’s $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The gelding, who leaves from post three with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Ron Burke, is the 2-1 morning line favorite.
|Chris Gooden photo|
|Yankee Bounty is unbeaten in six starts heading into Saturday's PaSS final at Pocono.|
Chick bought Yankee Bounty, a son of stallion Yankee Cruiser and second foal out of the mare Bootleg Yankee, for $21,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. He already owned Yankee Bounty’s full brother, Bootstrap Yankee, whom he purchased for $2,000 at his own Chick’s Sale in Delaware in 2012.
“(Yankee Bounty’s) little brother -- and I mean little -- came through my sale in Harrington,” Chick said. “He was bred probably better than any horse that came through there, but he was a midget. But that little guy paced in (1):56 right before the Harrisburg sale. I thought if that little guy could go in (1):56, what could a full-sized one do? So I went and bought his brother.
“They looked very much similar, same attitude, same everything. I ended up coming away with him. It wasn’t any rocket science. I was just lucky.”
Bootstrap Yankee has won only one of 21 races, but his 1:56.3 effort in a fourth-place finish at Harrington Raceway last October made a winner of Chick with Yankee Bounty. The family also includes stakes-winners Banner Yankee and Electric Yankee, plus Yankee Blossum, who is the dam of stakes-winner Lady Luvs Diamonds and second dam of stakes-winner Hurrikane Kingcole.
Chick and Scott Gregoire worked with Yankee Bounty through the winter and eventually turned the horse over to trainer Kevin Lare to begin his racing career.
“He was a pure natural,” Chick said. “The only thing we didn’t do was mess him up, that’s all. I’d like to say we did something really fine with him, but we just took care of him. I gave him to Kevin about the first of June and he finished him off. We didn’t train him real tough. But he went a nice half here one day before we qualified and it kind of opened our eyes up. He’s been just a dream. No problems at all.”
Yankee Bounty won his first three races by a minimum of 1-3/4 lengths before posting a 7-1/4 length victory in a division of the Arden Downs in a stakes-record 1:51.3 at The Meadows. The triumph caught the attention of Burke, who put together a partnership and bought into the horse at the end of July.
Since then, Yankee Bounty has won two more legs of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series. His first with Burke was a victory at The Meadows on Aug. 8 in 1:50.4, which is the fastest mile of the season by a 2-year-old pacer on a five-eighths-mile track. On Aug. 22 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Yankee Bounty survived his first scare of the campaign, fighting back in the stretch to edge Wakizashi Hanover by a neck in 1:52.
“I’ve been in it a long time and had a lot of horses and never had one quite as nice,” Chick said. “It’s pretty neat. Just lucky that’s all.
“His very best quality is speed, but he’s also so easy on himself. You could put him on the front end in a quarter of :26 or :27 seconds and he’ll throttle right down and go the next quarter in :32 if you want. He’s just so easy and so professional about what he does as a 2-year-old.
“And he’s got a wonderful gait. We saw it the first day we jogged him. Everyone (at Harrington) saw it too. Everyone thought he could be a nice one. We didn’t know he was going to be this nice, but I think a lot of people looked at him and thought he’s got something.”
Trainer John Butenschoen sends out the second and third choices to Yankee Bounty in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Tomy Terror, driven by Corey Callahan, is 3-1 on the morning line and Dragon Eddy, driven by Mike Simons, is 4-1.
Saturday’s card also features championships for 2-year-old male and female trotters and female pacers.
Southwind Roulette, trained by Burke and driven by Gingras, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the race for filly pacers. Jimmy Takter’s Aria Hanover, with Dave Palone at the lines, is the 3-1 second choice.
Takter sends out the top picks in the filly trot, with Wild Honey and Gingras the 5-2 favorite followed by Speak To Me and Palone at 3-1.
Staffan Lind’s undefeated Billy Flynn, with driver Brett Miller, is the 2-1 favorite among the male trotters. Takter and Gingras team up with Walter White, who is 3-1.