Top Of Her Trade and Crazy 8  Stable

Top Of Her Trade and Crazy 8  Stable

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Dr Don Ling

Nine years ago, Bolt the Duer was battling the best three year pacers in North America on a weekly basis. He and Thinking Out Loud, two colts from Ponder's second crop, were frequent Stake winners. Bolt the Duer won 9 of 19 starts in 2012 for earnings of $902,610. His speed badge of 1:47.4f came in the Adios final at the Meadows over Rock N Roll Heaven, setting a new World Record. He also captured the historic Messenger Pace at Yonkers in 1:51.2.

Mark MacDonald, second eldest of the three famous Kingston PEI harness driving brothers, was Bolt the Duers regular reinsman for trainer Peter Foley during his 3 and 4 year old campaigns. Their victory at four in the Joe Gerrity Jr Memorial at Saratoga in 1:49 tied the World Record for aged pacers on a half mile track. When Mark was unable to get to Hoosier Downs in Indiana Sam Widger drove him to a win in the Dan Patch Memorial. Another $609,707 would be added to his swelling bankroll at four.

A serious injury at five after only one start forced Bolt the Duers retirement. With a lifetime summary of 23 wins from 67 starts and $1,829,995 in purse cheques he entered stallion service at Winbak Farm in Walden, New York with a $4,000 stud fee.

Bolt the Duer, a product of Carter Duer’s Peninsula Farm in Lexington, Ky, drew a $70,000 price tag at Harrisburg in 2010. His Artsplace dam Wonderbolt, lightly raced but a sister to 6 in 1:55, produced six winners from 7 foals with total earnings of $3,726,800. Her offspring included the millionaire mare Shanghai Lil and two other six figure earners. A full sister to Bolt the Duer is Margarita Monday, dam of the top notch open mare Tequila Monday.

Stud service in New York is very competitive. Despite his sparkling credentials Bolt the Duer attracted only 34 mares in 2016. This resulted in 28 foals and would prove to be his largest book. His foal registrations from the next three breeding seasons were 48 in total. Entering the 2020 breeding season he had two fillies from that first crop showing NY stake wins, but only 5 mares were bred. This past summer would see him gain his richest offspring to date. Three year old colt Blank Stare ($250,549) was a multiple stake winner including the $225,000 NYSS final at Tioga Downs in 1:50.2f.

When Bolt the Duer’s yearlings went through the legendary Harrisburg Sales ring in 2018 Islander Jamie Kennedy was there. He witnessed two of those first crop fillies being purchased by good friend Ben Stafford of New Jersey. Jamie had known Ben since 1968, the year he had begun a four year stint in the Eastern Hockey League with the New Jersey Devils in Cherry Hill. An introduction to the harness trainer was arranged by fellow Islanders Phil and Butch McGee, then employed with US racing stables in the Atlantic City area.

After Jamie retired his pacer Shadows in Town a year ago, he began looking for a replacement. "I talk to Ben regularly" says Jamie, "and when he mentioned he was cutting down for health reasons from a stable of 23 to 2 or 3 I asked about buying one." Ben was pleased to oblige his old buddy, and the maiden filly Lock Her Up was offered at a very reasonable price.

At about the same time Lynn MacLarren and her CDP ownership group of four were contemplating a change of plans and wanted to upgrade. They put their aged pacing mare What a Babe on the Sale Board, eventually working a deal with Dave Dowling. Through the addition of another four investors, she created the Crazy 8 Stable, and with Jamie's assistance was able to purchase the filly Top of Her Trade from the Stafford operation.

Stafford had purchased both of these Bolt the Duer fillies at the 2018 Harrisburg Sale. Lock Her Up was $13,000 while Top of Her Trade went for $6,000. The latter had developed more quickly, taking a 1:55.2f record at three with over $29,000 on her card from 22 starts.

Lynn MacLarren has deep harness racing roots. Her paternal grandfather George Gregory raced many horses at the CDP years ago, headlined by Magic Pick. This free legged son of Famous Hanover was a Maritime free-for-aller in the late 60's for driver Eric "Ike" Moreside, and Lynn was often in attendance.

The Crazy 8 Stable was formed mainly by employees of the City of Charlottetown. Business manager Lynn is now retired from City Hall administration while partners Todd Walsh, Shawn MacAdam and Lynn's cousin Lance Jones still work with the City. Other Stable members include Les MacIsaac (PEI Government), Lance's brother Mark Jones (Purolator), his father Keir (retired CDP judge) and Lance's fellow coach at UPEI Women's Hockey Donnie MacFadyen, a retired teacher. Lynn says "we have lots of fun coming to the races, hoping for a win, but really enjoying the social side".

And the wins did come for Top of Her Trade. She recorded 4 victories and 2 seconds in her first 6 CDP outings. Trainer Todd Walsh used different drivers, including wins with Taylor Doyle, Adam Merner and Corey MacPherson. Her eight Island starts banked the group about $4400 before they turned her out at Dave Kelly's farm in Springvale, PEI.

Jamie's initial results racing Lock Her Up would be quite similar. However, she did show hind end lameness when first jogged by trainer Kenny Arsenault. After a little Vet work Kenny's main man Mike "Hymie" Gregory took over. " He worked on her every day" says Kenny, "using message, heat and Absorbine followed by a wrap covering, and she came perfectly sound.. She's a lovely mare, wears a 59" hopple, and really wants to win".

Following a Halloween qualifier, she went on to break her maiden and win 5 of her first 8 starts. Another 2 seconds and a third pushed CDP earnings to the $5000 range with a record of 2:00.1. She is also now turned out at Kelly's Springvale farm, reuniting her once again with previous field mate Top of Her Trade.

So everybody seems happy. Ben Stafford found good homes for his two fillies, old friend Jamie Kennedy is smiling and back in the winners circle and the Crazy 8 Stable partners are harboring big time dreams. Don't be surprised if one or both of these nicely bred distaffers find themselves facing Maritime Open class mares sometime in 2021. After all, their World Champion daddy enjoyed a glorious four year old campaign with a PEI connection.

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