TORONTO, ON — Through 40 years in the harness racing business as an owner and trainer, Larry Menary has never had as much fun as he is having this season with three-year-old pacing cold Fast Pay and two-year-old pacing colt Haul Away, who are headed to Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday for their respective $130,000 Gold Finals.
“It’s good to go through good times,” says a grateful Menary. “Many times there’s a lot of bumps in the road, everyone’s gone through that.”
Menary’s exceptional season has been buttressed by the success of sophomore pacing colt Fast Pay. Since winning the Grassroots Championship as a two-year-old, the Western Terror son has delivered exciting moment after exciting moment to the Cheltenham resident and his partners Denis Breton of Welland and Phil Silvestri and Joseph Settimi of Hamilton.
“He’s been pretty exciting for all of us this year,” admits Menary. “He’s something really special, a once in a lifetime thing to come along.”
Through 18 starts this season Fast Pay has tallied seven wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $365,600. The colt has captured two Gold Eliminations and three Gold Finals, and set an Ontario Sires Stakes all time speed record at Mohawk Racetrack on Aug. 10, touring the seven-eighths mile oval in 1:49, two-fifths of a second faster than former record holder Somebeachsomewhere.
“That was a pretty special night there, even the track photographer took some pictures of us,” recalls Menary. “David came over and grabbed me and picked me up.”
The icing on the cake for the longtime horseman has been the fact that Fast Pay and Haul Away are trained by his son David Menary. Not only is he enjoying the best horse he has ever owned, Menary is enjoying watching his son succeed at the work he loves.
“David said that years ago; the biggest thing is, you really have to love what you’re doing,” reflects Menary, noting the 24 hour a day, seven days each week nature of the harness racing business.
Five years into retirement, Menary helps David out with the horses, while still working on his own farm, and credits his longevity in the Standardbred business to the early support he had from people like Allan Walker, Cecil Coke, Gordon Findlay and the Armstrong family.
“It was great to be around people that were so professional,” says the horseman. “There are a whole lot of people that made everything so successful.”
Menary places driver Paul MacDonell high on the list of professionals who have contributed to this storybook season. MacDonell has piloted Fast Pay through all 18 starts, and will be back in the race bike on Saturday, steering the colt after a fourth Gold Final trophy from Post 2 in the tenth race.
“I would think Paul knows him pretty good right now,” says Menary. “He’s such a classy guy, so well spoken. We’re pretty lucky he’s been on board for this good go.”
Menary, Breton, Silvestri and Settimi upped the excitement level another notch when they acquired freshman pacing colt Haul Away in mid-September. Since then the Modern Art son has swept his Gold Elimination and the Final at Rideau Carleton Raceway and finished third in last week’s elimination round.
“He did a lot of hard work up on the front end and got a little tired,” says Menary of the colt’s effort in the elimination round. “We were quite pleased and happy to make it to the final. We’ll keep our fingers crossed he gets some luck and gets a little money.”
Cambridge resident Jody Jamieson and Haul Away will defend their Gold Final title from Post 2 in the fifth race on Saturday.
Woodbine Racetrack’s Saturday evening program gets under way at 7:30 pm, with the two-year-old pacing colts kicking off the Gold Final battles in Race 5, and the three-year-old pacing colts following in Race 10.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e1010wdbsn.dat.