Tricky Tooshie

by Sandra Snyder

Tricky Tooshie is sort of a blue collar mare. Her resume is not full of black-type stakes wins and she never won an O’Brien Award. The daughter of Rumpus Hanover and Sangria Belle (Tijuana Taxi) earned her place in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame the old fashioned way, racing week-in and week-out against the best horses in whatever jurisdiction she was residing.

As a 2-year-old in 1992 that was Quebec, where she was a five-time winner in Quebec Sires Stakes action and won the $197,289 Coupe des Eleveurs final in a Blue Bonnets track record 1:55.1. At three, Tricky Tooshie was even more dominant in her home province, winning 15 straight races, including another Quebec Sires Stakes final. The filly would lose just twice that season, in her May 22 season opener, a non-winners of four races or $10,000 lifetime at Blue Bonnets, and in her last race, the Nov. 7 fillies and mares open at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

“I remember she was racing in a sires stakes in Three Rivers and a couple of races before her race there was a spill, a few drivers went down and one of them was my uncle Henri, who was down to drive Tricky Tooshie,” said Sylvain Filion, who was a young member of the Quebec driving colony at the time. “So, he got hurt. I can’t remember what he had, but the trainer came up to me and he asked me if I could drive the filly. I said, ‘Sure,’ and I ended up winning that race. After the race they asked me if I could drive her the rest of the year and I said, ‘Absolutely’. That’s how I got the first drive on her.

“She was unbeatable in Quebec. She was so much the best it was almost a joke. She was pretty easy to drive too. You could make two, three mistakes in the race and still win, so that makes it pretty easy for a driver.”

Filion steered the filly to $434,326 in sires stakes earnings through her career.

It was trainer Jean-Louis Deblois who asked Filion to drive the filly. The Mercier, QC resident bred Tricky Tooshie in partnership with owner Laurent Bergevin and Filion was pleased to see them honoured by the mare’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

“You know what, she couldn’t have a better owner and trainer in Quebec. They were great people, they took great care of her and I am happy for them,” said the driver. “They gave her time off when she needed it and they did not over race her. They did just what they needed to do for the horse.”

Tricky Tooshie needed some time off after her 3-year-old campaign due to a knee injury and when she returned to the races in August of her 4-year-old year the Quebec racing scene was in a state of upheaval. It quickly became apparent to Deblois and Bergevin that they would have to look elsewhere to find racing opportunities for their star pacer.

Deblois spent six months, from late 1994 through the spring of 1995, with the mare in Ontario and then decided to hand Tricky Tooshie’s care over to Rick Zeron. Zeron would train the mare for the next two years, which she spent battling the very best mares in Canada in the fillies and mares open and preferred classes.

In 1995, she posted seven wins, eight seconds and three thirds in 33 starts for earnings of $183,400, and in 1996 she logged six wins, seven seconds and six thirds in 34 starts for earnings of $171,430. Among the mares she matched wits with every week were Hall of Famer Ellamony, who she bested on June 18, 1996, Classy River Gal, Oohs N Aahs, Queens Arms and Jays Table. On Oct. 6, 1996 Tricky Tooshie finished second to Hall of Famer Shes A Great Lady in the $150,000 Milton Stake final.

“She had a little bit of bad attitude in the barn, but other than that, when she was on the track she was a professional. She did everything I ever asked her to do and most of the time she did a little extra,” said Zeron.

“She always liked to be up in the hunt, she didn’t like to be sitting too far back. She wanted to go out and win, she thrived on winning. That was the greatest asset she had. Loved doing her work and she left 110 per cent on the track every time she raced.”

Zeron said one of the keys to Tricky Tooshie’s success in the open pacing mare ranks was the work caretaker Linda Bedard did to keep her happy and healthy.

“Linda Bedard did a great job looking after that mare,” said the trainer. “Tricky Tooshie and Linda got along from Day 1, and I think that’s what really helped her become the great racehorse that she was after she was three.

“She was just a great, great racehorse and I’m ecstatic that she’s finally got into the Hall of Fame. It’s a well-deserved honour for the owner of that horse and for Tricky Tooshie, and Linda Bedard too.”

Bedard’s special connection to the mare would see Bergevin place Tricky Tooshie in her care for the last year of her career. On Dec. 26, 1997 she would win her last fillies and mares open — three years after she won her first — and on March 20, 1998 she would win her last race, pushing her earnings to $1,005,566. Between July 1992 and March 1998 Tricky Tooshie made 142 starts for 44 wins, 29 seconds and 24 thirds and a personal best 1:52.1 taken at Woodbine Racetrack in June 1995.

Upon her retirement from racing Tricky Tooshie joined the broodmare ranks at Hanover Shoe Farms where she produced 13 foals from nine different sires. Eleven of those foals would go on to race with eight of them earning over $100,000 and pacing faster than 1:55. Her most successful offspring was The Panderosa gelding True North Hanover, who won 39 races, paced in 1:50.2 and banked $732,912. After foaling Western Ideal colt Techino Hanover in 2015, Tricky Tooshie retired from the broodmare ranks and is currently enjoying her senior years at the Pennsylvania nursery.