The sophomore trotting filly is the 5-2 second choice in the $50,000 James K. Hackett Memorial Final on Monday (April 25) at Miami Valley Raceway.
by Jay Wolf
Trainer Tye Loy has been in fixture at MGM Northfield Park since the mid-1980s, but the last few months of 2021 was a period of time that the 66-year-old conditioner wanted to forget.
Loy, who was enshrined into the Northfield Park Wall of Fame in 2011, has a blunt assessment of his late year performance.
“The stuff I was trying to race last winter was junk. I now have better stock,” he said.
He finished last season with a Universal Trainers Rating of .246 and through the first four months of 2022, his UTRS has jumped to over .430.
Loy’s 2022 season has been turned around in part by Toes In The Water, a 3-year-old filly trotter that overcame some soreness issues at 2 and has been tapped as the 5-2 second choice in the $50,000 James K. Hackett Memorial Final on Monday (April 25)n at Miami Valley Raceway.
Toes In The Water is not the most royally-bred filly. Her dam was the unraced Royal Bikini out of the first crop sire Long Tom. Toes In The Water was bred by Jonas Schlaback of Apple Creek, OH and was hammered down for $12,000 at the November Blooded Horse Sale to Loy and co-owner Roger Morlock.
“She looked good and she had a really good (yearling) video. She was athletic and long-legged,” said Loy. “I looked at a lot of horses that day and she stood out.”
As a freshman, Toes In The Water raced mostly in the second-level Buckeye Stallion Series, winning the first three $17,500 BSS legs at Northfield Park, Eldorado Scioto Downs and at the Champaign County Fair in Urbana.
Despite their early success, Loy kept his filly away from Ohio Sire Stakes company for much of the year – trying just one OHSS leg at their hometown Northfield Park (a third-place finish in 1:56.3) in late August.
“She was a May 28th foal and that is a good way to have problems with them when they’re born that late,” said Loy. “She had a little bit of soreness last year and had issues getting away from the gate. She’s getting away well now.”
In the season-ending $60,000 Buckeye Stallion Series Final at Northfield Park, driver Ryan Stahl used a grinding, first over move for much of the mile, but was defeated by Miss Cowboy Star by a head in 1:57.3.
The Long Tom filly finished her rookie campaign with a 5-1-2 record in 10 starts with $53,853 in earnings.
Toes In The Water’s first purse start of 2022 came on April Fool’s Day in a conditioned event at The Meadows and her trip was no joking matter. She was seventh at the quarter, last at the half and rallied for nose victory in 2:00.1.
“That mile was deceiving – she was in and out and all over the place. She was 12 lengths back at the half,” said Loy.
In her $20,000 Hackett elimination last week, driver Trace Tetrick used some of Toes In The Water’s recently found gate speed – leaving from post #8, taking the lead at the quarter and sat patiently behind a dueling Chris Beaver trainees, last season’s OHSS champion, Gabby’s C Note (Aaron Merriman) and Stephanie Hill (Jeremy Smith).
Tetrick and ‘Toes’ went toe-to-toe with the divisional champ down the lane, but came up a half-length short in 1:57.
The post draw for the $50,000 Hackett Final was much kinder to Loy and Toe In The Water. She will once again have the services of Trace Tetrick and will leave from post #2, just inside of the elimination winner.
The Hackett filly trot kicks off four straight days of $50,000 finals. The sophomore filly pace will be Tuesday, the colt trotters will be contested on Wednesday and the 3-year-old colt pacers will wrap up the rich Ohio bred finals on Thursday.
The James K. Hackett Memorial events, which traditionally kick-off the Ohio-bred stakes season, honor the late driver/trainer of the 1967 Little Brown Jug champion, Best Of All. Hackett died in 1970, moments after finishing a race at Latonia Raceway in Florence, Kentucky.
$50,000 James Hackett Memorial Final (3YOFT)
— Monday (April 25) – Race 9
- Hill Of A Diamond (Kayne Kauffman/Jim Arledge, Jr.) 20-1
- Toes In The Water (Trace Tetrick/Brett Miller) 5-2
- Gabbys C Note (Aaron Merriman/Chris Beaver) 2-1
- I’ll Annie Up (Chris Page/Ron Burke) 5-1
- Reichers Caviar (Dan Noble/Chris Beaver) 9-2
- Toast The Host (Tony Hall/Kayne Kauffman) 6-1
- Jamaica Jann (Mitchell Cushing/Eric Nesselroad) 20-1
- Stephanie Hill (Jeremy Smith/Chris Beaver) 20-1
$50,000 James Hackett Memorial Final (3YOFP)
— Tuesday (April 26) – Race 9
- Start Takin It Off (Trace Tetrick/Brett Miller)
- When You Kiss Me (Tyler Smith/Jeff Smith)
- Cold Hearted Gypsy (Trace Tetrick/Herman Hagerman)
- Coastal (Josh Sutton/Ron Burke)
- Dragons Revenge (Dan Noble/Christi Noble)
- Allnight Micki (Mike Wilder/Tim Twaddle)
- Twenty (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr./Ron Burke)
- Spitting Image (TBD / Ron Burke)
- Cape Cod Hanover (Chris Page/Ron Burke)