Tuesday, 14 May 2024 23:53

Alberta's Itsallgoodman Surprises Trainer with Blazing Fast Workout: Clocks Record Time at Century Mile

Alberta's Itsallgoodman Surprises Trainer with Blazing Fast Workout: Clocks Record Time at Century Mile Chris Tian Photography

Shortly after 10 a.m. this past Friday, with the wind snapping from the west, a handsome, muscular bay colt named Itsallgoodman worked in company with Saxon Saga at Century Mile.

Itsallgoodman’s trainer Gonzalo Anderson, owner Curtis Landry and regular jockey Dane Nelson were expecting a five-furlong time of a minute flat from last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old. But Itsallgoodman, who was also named Alberta’s Champion Sprinter and Champion Alberta-bred, had other ideas. As easy as he worked a minute seemed about right.

Then Anderson called up to the timer’s booth and was told Itsallgoodman had gone in 58 seconds flat – the fastest five-furlong work of the day.

Anderson had to ask the clocker, Cliff Sletton, to repeat it.

“OK, thanks,” said Anderson putting the phone back in the cradle.

Anderson turned to Landry and said “They got him in :58.”

Landry’s mouth dropped.

“We didn’t want him to go that fast,” said Landry, who has owned a lot of champions – Eustacia, Oneofthemgirls, Tell Me Lies, Onestaratatime and Oneofthemgirls.

“He was just cruising on the outside of Saxon Saga.

“Dane was just having fun. He was playing with him. He took him back half a length behind Saxon Saga. Then he took him a full length behind,” recalled Landry of Nelson gathering in the reins.

“Dane could have rolled on by anytime, but he only asked him for the last sixteenth of a mile.”

Finishing on even terms with Saxon Saga, Itsallgoodman then galloped out with aplomb.

“It was pretty impressive but then that’s what Itsallgoodman is: special,” said Landry, who bought him for $17,000 at the 2022 Alberta Yearling Sale.

“He is capable of working much quicker than that if we let him. We’ve made sure both years that he stays well in hand in his works. Not pulling. In control with solid gallop outs.

“I don’t like bullet works. They don’t pay you in the mornings. But he looked well in hand and galloped out nicely.”

“Dane never asked him,” concurred Anderson. “Itsallgoodman went the first three-eighths of a mile in about 36 seconds. Then he went his last quarter in about 22 seconds.”

Saxon Saga is no slouch either. A new horse, who raced in last year’s Manitoba Derby, Saxon Saga has won six of his 19 starts.

When Nelson came back to Anderson’s barn Nelson grinned and shouted “The champ is back. The champ is back.”

Soon the grooms and exercise rider Roy Ramierez were yelling too, singing “The champ is here. The champ is here.”

Anderson doesn’t know when Itsallgoodman, who was in Arizona for the winter without racing, will make his first start as a three-year-old.

“He’s out of conditions. His first start this year will probably be the June 7th Western Canada Handicap.”

Itsallgoodman served notice early that he was gifted: sparkling in the mornings and then effortlessly winning his maiden voyage on July 21 by four and a half unhurried lengths.

“You could see from Day 1 that he was pretty smart and talented,” said Landry.

“He had a real nice way of going. Very fluid. A cool horse.”

In his next appearance Itsallgoodman stumbled leaving the starting gate and finished third in the Martin Deerline Juvenile Stakes.

Then he was second in his third start – the Canadian Juvenile when he couldn’t quite hold off Tipsy Tales in a long, hard drive – losing by a half-length.

In both of those races he was full of mucus.

“Actually, most of the year he was sick,” said Anderson, who has a talented barn of 30 horses this year. “His immune system was so weak. We would scope him seven days out and he would look good. But then after the race we would scope him again and he was full of mucus. It drove us all crazy but I have to say (veterinarian) Bob Burko did a good job keeping him as good as he could.”

“He had the lead in both of those two losses but he had no air to finish,” added Landry.

“He didn’t have a chance of winning those two races.”

Yet, he almost overcame the sickness anyway.

“He tried. He’s a battler,” said Landry, who says Itsallgoodman is 100 per cent this year.

“It’s a maturity thing. I think he’s just grown his way through it.”

After those two losses there was nothing but magic. He won the Alberta Premiers’ Futurity by eight and a quarter lengths and then in his final start of his two-year-old campaign he won the CTHS Sales stakes by four and a quarter lengths.

A son of Speigtster, who won three of his only four races including the Graded Dwyer stakes in 2016, Itsallgoodman was a $17,000 yearling sale purchase that Landry picked out.

“I pick out all of the yearlings I buy,” said Landry, who owns four horses – two by himself and two in partnership with Highfield – the latter pair both sired by Fed Biz, a multiple graded stakes winner, multiple track record setter and multiple Grade 1 performer that Highfield recently brought to Alberta.

Besides Itsallgoodman, another horse Landry owns is Puttingonthefoil, a Counterforce two-year-old, who was last year’s Sales topper after the hammer went down at $46,000. Counterforce was last year’s leading freshman stallion in British Columbia.

Puttingonthefoil’s dam, Chilli Chimes, produced Grade 3 stakes winner Herbie D.

“He hasn’t worked yet but he’s got a cocky, nice way of going,” said Landry.

Anderson said Landry loves studying a horse’s breeding, their confirmation and how they move.

“He also loves seeing how younger horses pan out as they progress,” said Anderson.

So does Anderson. “I like starting horses as babies and getting to know their personality and teaching them to do everything right. It’s important to start them off correctly. It’s nice when they behave.

“I think we have some nice horses this year,” continued Anderson, 36, who is in just his second year as a trainer after spending a dozen years working for five-time Alberta leading trainer Tim Rycroft.

For the last two years Anderson and Crystal Cates, who works with Anderson, have been Alberta’s leading owners. Last year the pair won 13 of 54 races for earnings of $194,710. In 2022 Anderson and Cates won 16 of 56 races for earnings of $181,671.

“Crystal is a really good friend and a partner with me with a lot of the horses I train. She’s very important to the operation. She treats every horse like they’re her babies.

“Like me, she loves horses.

“When you have as many horses as we have it’s always nice to have an extra pair of eyes.

Originally from Venezuela, Anderson, who came to Canada in 2008 – landing in Calgary where his aunt lives, - is a hard worker who graduated from the very successful Olds’ College Groom course.

“I’d spend 24 hours in my barn if I had to do that to make sure everybody is happy.

Starting at 5 a.m. and often still at the track until 10 or even 11 p.m. he almost does that anyway.

“There’s always something to do.

“See and learn,” said Anderson, who is now a Canadian citizen.

“My dad had horses. Not racehorses. Just horses who would appear in rodeos and trail rides.

“I love horses and I like to be competitive. It’s a lot of fun. Especially when you own a horse.

“To me it doesn’t matter if it’s a $3,000 claimer or a stakes horse. I treat them all the same.

“Happy horses run fast.”

Anderson said the grooms in his barn all do a very good job.

“I love all of them. I couldn’t mention one without mentioning them all. But everybody has to do their part to be on top.

“You’re going to have good days and you are going to have bad days.

“And you have to be able to win with class and lose with class.”

Landry, who was Anderson’s first owner, has had many good horses.

“Eustacia was a champion two-year-old and she is the dam of Oneofthemgirls,” he said of a horse who was the Champion Two and Three-Year-Old Champion, winning the Sturgeon River and CTHS Sales stake in 2021 as a two-year-old and then the Debutante, the Chariot Chaser and the Sonoma at three in 2022.

“Tell Me Lies was a Champion. I think the most excited I’ve ever been was when she won the Sonoma,” he said of the 2013 edition.

“She was 5 or 6 to one and she ran them off their feet. It was so exciting.”

Tell Me Lies wound up winning nine of her 15 starts.

“She was a nice horse. So was Onestaratatime, who was the Champion Three-Year-Old in 2016,” he said of a horse that won the R.K. Red Smith, the Northlands Oaks, the Sonoma and the Alberta Oaks all in a row.

“She won everything that year,” said Landry, who has owned over 100 horses – the first with his father Peter in 2007.

“Ruffenuff was probably the fastest of them all. She was a Two-Year-Old Champion,” he said of the Princess Margaret and Bird of Pay winner of 2016, the Chariot Chaser and Northlands Oaks in 2017 and the JetSet Handicap in 2018. She won 10 of 25 starts earning over $200,000.

Then there was Raider, who won the Shirley Vargo twice, the B.C. Debutante, the Red Smith, Chariot Chaser, Sonoma and RedTail Landing and ended up running first or second in 19 of her 35 starts in a campaign that spanned from 2017 to 2021. Raider banked $346,490.

“Definitely one of my favourites,” said Landry, who has won some 40 stakes races.

“She was a grinding, hard knocker. If her opponents didn’t have their day she would make them pay.”

Now there is Itsallgoodman.

The end goal for all Alberta owners with talented three-year-olds is the same: the mile and a quarter Canadian Derby. The same is true for Itsallgoodman.

“That’s the dream,” said Landry.

“We’ll dream that dream until he says otherwise. We’ll stay on the Derby trail unless he shows us that he can’t run that far. He’s not bred to go long. But you never know.

“I’ve been in this position before. You think you have the best horse and then they open the gates on their three-year-old year and they’re not the same.

“But I’m extremely excited.

“We’re hoping for the best. But we’re also prepared for the worst.”

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow me on X (Twitter) at CurtisJStock and on Facebook

Read 1733 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 May 2024 00:06