LONDON, ON — When Putnam residents Bonnie and Arne Berg purchased Amigococoa from the Summer Sizzler Sale in August, they purchased her as a broodmare, but the three-year-old trotting filly’s recent success in the overnight ranks has earned her a start against Ontario’s top fillies in Trillium Series action this Saturday at Western Fair Raceway.
“It’s her money that’s going on the line to race her,” says Bonnie Berg. “I think we paid $7,500 for her and she’s made $11,000.”
When the Berg’s purchased Amigococoa on Aug. 23, the filly had qualified twice and raced once in May, then enjoyed a summer vacation before qualifying again on Aug. 17. After training her for almost four weeks the couple schooled the filly once, and when she delivered an impressive mile over a heavy track, they entered her in a Sept. 17 overnight event at Hiawatha Horse Park. The daughter of Amigo Hall and Armbro Cocoa finished fifth, but faded through the stretch, so the Berg’s altered her training routine in hopes of building her endurance.
“In that trip they went so fast to the half that she got tired at the end,” explains Berg. “So instead of training for speed — obviously she had it — we started training her long miles, like a mile and a half.”
In her second test for the couple, on Oct. 1 at Hiawatha, the filly’s new training regimen paid off with a 2:02.1 victory. Nine days later Amigococoa delivered a runner-up finish at Flamboro Downs after being parked through most of the mile, and then followed that up with a second victory at Hiawatha on Oct. 29, finishing 13 lengths ahead of the competition and halting the teletimer at 2:01.3.
On Oct. 20 the Berg’s saw the filly’s former trainer Blair Burgess at a qualifying event, and Burgess encouraged them to enter her in the Trillium Series. As a result, Amigococoa got a test run around Western Fair on Nov. 14 and delivered another impressive victory, reaching the wire eight and three-quarter lengths ahead of the field in 2:03.
“I’d never race one in a stakes race unless they had seen everything first,” explains Berg. “She only went in 2:03. I think we’re going to have to go a little faster than that Saturday.”
Regular reinsman Dave “Mr. OSS” Wall will steer Amigococoa from Post 5 in the second $33,263 division, which sees her pitted against former stablemate Friendly Amigo from Post 1 and Grassroots Champion Daylon Mystique from Post 4.
“It was Blair’s idea to put her in the Trillium, and she’s in with his,” says Berg. “And with Daylon Mystique — I was the under bidder on her — there they all are in the same division, the three Amigo Halls.
“I’d pay money to be in the other one,” she adds wryly.
The longtime owner says Amigococoa trained well last weekend in preparation for Saturday’s test, and hopes the filly can hold her own against the Trillium Series field.
“She just trained awesome the other day, on Sunday,” says Berg. “And our track isn’t a true half-mile. It’s got five turns.”
Amigococoa arrived at the Berg’s farm with trotting hopples in her equipment bag, and the couple has opted not to try her without the supports at this stage in her career, although Bonnie is confident she could be successful without them.
“I haven’t got the guts to take the trotting hopples off,” she admits. “I don’t think she needs them, but I’m not going to find out until I have to qualify her after she’s had some time off.”
Following Saturday’s Trillium Series test Amigococoa will head to Woodbine Racetrack for the Autumn Series, which gets under way on Dec. 10. Regardless of the results that she posts in her coming stakes engagements, Berg says the affable filly — much loved by the couple’s horse crazy granddaughters — has found a home for life at their Putnam farm.
“It’s an awful big step up, it really is a big step,” notes the owner. “But she’s welcome to come home with us anyhow, no matter what. She’s welcome here for the rest of her life.”
Post time for Western Fair Raceway’s Saturday evening program is 7:05 pm, with the talented three-year-old trotting fillies squaring off in their last Trillium Series event in Races 5 and 10.
For complete entries please go to: http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e1128lonn.dat.