Trainer Walter Haynes, Jr. said the 9-year-old gelding is a character and a funny horse.
by James Platz
Nine-year-old gelding I Know My Chip split horses and trotted clear of the field by a length and a quarter Tuesday (March 16) at Miami Valley Raceway, stopping the clock in 1:54.3. The victory was the 45th for the son of Deep Chip—Madeline’s Crown, and the 24th since arriving in the barn of trainer Walter Haynes Jr in early 2017. Over the last four years, I Know My Chip has earned just over $580,000 for his connections, eclipsing the $1 million threshold last season while making an impression on and off the track.
“He’s been good to us, that’s for sure,” said Haynes.
Owned by the partnership of Brian Carsey, Casey Myers and the Black And White Stable since September, 2019, I Know My Chip is known around the Haynes Stable for his personality. He may appear intimidating, but it is little more than a facade.
“He’s just a character. He’s a funny, good horse. He kicks the wall when it’s feeding time, swings his head around. He’s hungry all the time,” Haynes said. “He acts like he’s going to maul you when you stick the water hose in his stall to put water in his bucket, but hell, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He pins his ears like he’s going to attack you, but you talk to him and he comes right to you.”
From the time he arrived at the trainer’s Alexandria, IN farm, I Know My Chip has displayed a playful demeanor. That has not changed with age, and Haynes has not attempted to change his charge. Instead, he allows the trotter to be himself.
“He’s a funny horse to train. He plays every day. He’ll go out there and just start throwing his head down between his legs and his feet are going everywhere. He just loves his job,” continued Haynes. “I never put an overcheck on him to train him or warm him up. I let him play when he wants to play.”
While the gelding is a character around the barn and in training, the Ohio bred has shown to be a fierce competitor on the track. He has recorded many triumphs in the top classes at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, and once held the track record for gelding trotters. For all the wins on his card, there are some equally impressive performances where he did not finish the race in the winner’s circle.
I Know My Chip raced second to Marion Marauder in the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic in 2018, and also finished runner-up to Will Take Charge in the $186,000 Crawford Farms Open at Tioga that season. During the 2017 campaign, he cut the mile at Lexington with a :25.3 opening panel and :53.2 half, setting up Hannelore Hanover’s 1:49.2 world record in the Allerage Farms open trot.
“He got a lot of recognition from that day forward just because he can launch off the gate so fast. Not too many horses will park him,” said his conditioner. “When everybody sees him launch out of there they let him go. They know he’s got way too much speed and he can push hard enough, neither one of you are going to get a check.”
The trotter may have that quick turn of hoof when the gate folds, but ailments have slowed him down in recent years. Haynes said that between constant quarter cracks and two torn suspensories, the ailments have piled up.
“He’s torn his right suspensory, he’s torn his left rear suspensory, he’s got quarter cracks all the time. He’s overcome a lot of stuff,” said Haynes. “Two years ago we turned him out, brought him in and jogged him three weeks and he came back in fresh, looked good, and his legs were really nice. All of a sudden he had one ankle starting to swell. We had not even trained him yet. He must have done it out in the field and it just flared up the more we jogged him. That hindered him for a couple of months. Last year he tore the right hind and that hindered him for a while.”
Last season, I Know My Chip only collected two victories in 20 starts, his lowest win total in a campaign. He registered nine runner-up performances, however, including one where he raced second while clocked in 1:51.3 at the age of eight. This season he has already matched his win total of 2020, scoring a pair of wins at Miami Valley in four attempts. In his latest victory, he used his customary burst off the gate to secure a pocket seat for driver Brandon Bates before the two trotted to victory in the $22,000 open handicap.
“He’s lost a lot. He’s lost a least a second, maybe two. Anymore, he’s a consistent :54 trotter where before he was a :52 trotter,” Haynes said. “He’s got the ability, but he’s got a lot more aches and pains, too. He’s probably at 70 per cent capacity right now.”
The Indiana-based trainer plans to continue racing I Know My Chip primarily in Ohio to bank the needed earnings so that the trotter will qualify for aged sires stakes later in the year. So far, he has accumulated $22,250, and is again slated for this week’s open handicap, drawing post eight. Haynes says that despite the afflictions, I Know My Chip loves the competition.
“Even though he’s made a million dollars, he loves to race,” Haynes said. “He’s going to make another couple hundred thousand before he’s done.”