by Brett Sturman
Last year’s 2-year-old champion Perfect Sting highlights the three Pennsylvania Sire Stake (PASS) divisions at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs today (May 16) (see story pg. 1), though the most intriguing head-to-head matchup could come in the race immediately after that one. That’s when One Eight Hundred gets to see just how good he is when going up against Southwind Gendry, who comes off a lifetime best mile of 1:49:4 when making his first start of the year two weeks ago at The Meadows.
Carded as the 10th race on the 14-race card, One Eight Hundred enters his PASS division in the form that’s been expected of him since his beginning. The highest yearling pacer ever at $800,000, One Eight Hundred was in the midst of storming through the Bobby Weiss series in April when misfortune struck through no fault of his own in that series final. But he rebounded strongly from that last week to win a PA All Stars race where fellow Meadowlands Pace-eligible and rival again today, Water Sports Teen, couldn’t gain ground on him from the pocket in that race. Tim Tetrick assumed the drive last week for the first time on One Eight Hundred (Somebeachsomewhere–Economy Terror) and will be piloting the colt today once again.
Howard Taylor, along with Chuck Pompey and Edwin Gold campaigned One Eight Hundred’s dam, the 2-year-old pacing filly champion Economy Terror, during her race career along with trainer Chris Oakes. Those same connections who bred One Eight Hundred went to the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling sale with the full intent to buy this colt, named Some Terror at that time.
“I was the underbidder on that horse,” said Taylor. “Chuck Pompey wanted to buy the horse at any cost. He told Chris Oakes to buy him and he was prepared to go to whatever it took and that the plan was to bring him home. And while Chris Oakes was bidding, Chuck fell asleep and when the bidding got to $700,000, I was panicking because I didn’t want him at that price. And I knew that Chris bid the $700,000 and that they were still going. I was on tape delay because I was watching the sale on the computer and knew that I had to do something quick. So, I texted him ‘Stop’ because that’s all I had time for. Chris said that he was going to raise his hand for $825,000 and was scared to death to do it because he couldn’t get a hold of Chuck but then he looked down and saw my text.”
That anyone would go up to $800,000 for a yearling pacer was a surprise, but it wasn’t a number out of the question to Taylor based word he had received in months prior. “These trainers spend all summer going to farms and looking at yearlings every chance they get, and I received 10 calls from trainers just to tell me that this is the most magnificent yearling they ever saw, said Taylor.”
Though Taylor and team didn’t get the colt that day, they’re still part of the horse as its breeders. One Eight Hundred is owned by Brixton Medical Inc. and the colt’s trainer, Nancy Takter.
“Chuck was pissed,” said Taylor, regarding not getting One Eight Hundred from sale. “I said, ‘Chuck, you own the mare, the colt’s brothers, and the main thing is the breeder’s awards.’; It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. You keep getting money and there’s no risk. You got your $800,000 and that will never go away and if the horse is great, all you do is make money from this horse. The breeder’s awards are substantial in Pennsylvania.”
As Taylor referenced, he is part of a group that bred and owns a Sweet Lou 2-year-old half-brother to One Eight Hundred. The horse was for sale last year as a yearling, but the group bought him back. “He went through the sale and for some reason nobody was bidding on him. Everybody said he was extremely good looking – though One Eight Hundred was magnificent – and we couldn’t understand it but we’re not going to give him away, so we bought him back for $50,000.”
That One Eight Hundred has come back as good as he has is a testament to both himself and to his trainer, Nancy Takter. Lou’s Pearlman set last year’s fastest mark for a 2-year-old colt of 1:49:1, and it came in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile when it was a revved-up One Eight Hundred that blazed the way on the front through a :52:4 half-mile.
“He lived to tell about it,” said Taylor. “And Nancy is very good at bringing them back, too. Her 2-year-olds come back as 3-year-olds, and most of the time even better. Recent examples are No Lou Zing and Tall Dark Stranger.”
For One Eight Hundred who is staked to mostly everything as you’d expect a $800,000 purchase to be, Sunday will give a read as to just how far he’s come from that 5-1-1-1 record with $16,798 in earnings as a 2-year-old. There were some nice, younger horses in the Bobby Weiss series, but today will be where the rubber hits the road. In addition to Southwind Gendry, the race also features stakes star Chase H Hanover and Hellabalou who comes off a PA All Stars win. One Eight Hundred didn’t win last year in limited starts against these types. He might be able to do so now.