TORONTO, ON — Delcrest Julian played the role of giant slayer in the last three-year-old trotting colt Gold Final and trainer Rick Zeron is hoping the colt can deliver a repeat performance in Saturday’s $300,000 Super Final at Woodbine Racetrack.
“He’s going in good to this race,” says the Oakville resident. “He’s right on his game.”
The giant felled by Delcrest Julian’s 1:55.1 effort at Woodbine on Oct. 15 was none other than division leader and Canadian Trotting Classic champion Daylon Magician. The Gold Final victory was Delcrest Julian’s only Ontario Sires Stakes win this season, but came as no surprise to Zeron. The son of Oaklea Julian and Stars Balance arrived in the trainer’s barn in early July and Zeron has had confidence in the trotter since the early days of their acquaintance.
“He’s come around. He had a couple difficulties, a couple things that had to be ironed out when I first got him, but he’s been going forward ever since,” notes Zeron, who conditions Delcrest Julian for owner Terry Hunter of Cambridge.
Following his Gold Final victory, Zeron sent Delcrest Julian out in an Oct. 31 overnight event at Woodbine and the colt laid down an impressive 1:53 mile to finish fourth in a field of older horses. Paul MacDonell has subbed for Zeron in the race bike since the veteran horseman was injured in an accident at Woodbine on Oct. 8, and will be back in the bike on Saturday, steering Delcrest Julian from Post 5 in the fifth race.
“Paul and I are pretty happy about the position we drew,” says Zeron, adding that the game plan is simple — stay in range of Daylon Magician and driver Jack Moiseyev, who will start from Post 3, and try to reel them in at the end. “We’ll follow Jack and see if we can beat him down the lane.”
Zeron says MacDonell’s job is made easier by the versatility and professionalism Delcrest Julian brings to the racetrack, and hopes the colt can wrap up his Ontario Sires Stakes career on a high note.
“He’s pretty professional about what he does,” says Zeron of the lanky trotter. “He does everything we ask him to do, which is very nice.”
Delcrest Julian heads into Saturday’s contest with a record of four wins, three seconds and three thirds to his credit through 16 sophomore starts, banking $231,437 for Hunter. With a total of 134 points, the colt wrapped up the regular season in a tie for second spot in the division standings, and has been no worse than third in provincial action since mid-summer.
Unfortunately, while Delcrest Julian has been on an upswing, his stablemate, three-year-old trotting filly Peach Martini, has been struggling since mid-August.
“I love that filly to death,” says Zeron. “But she got a bad virus two months, two and a half months ago, and we’ve had a heck of a time getting her through it. It’s been kind of a big bump in the road.”
Peach Martini started off the sophomore season with nine straight top three results against the top fillies from Canada and the USA, sweeping her elimination and the Gold Final in early July at Georgian Downs and early August at Mohawk Racetrack, but she has not found her way to the podium since Aug. 11. Fourth in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Stake at Mohawk on Aug. 26 and fifth in the Gold Final at Mohawk on Sept. 22, the winner of $587,319 then faltered badly in her Oct. 2 Gold Elimination at Windsor Raceway and was scratched from the final, and most recently trailed home tenth in a Nov. 4 overnight contest at Woodbine.
“Her temperature was flaring up on us and we couldn’t get it down. Finally we got the temperature down and then she got sick again,” recalls Zeron. “I don’t know where it sparked up from, but she was about the only one in the barn that got it.”
Zeron shares ownership of Peach Martini with Michael Katz of Thornhill, Stephen Waldman of Toronto and Rojan Stables of Wilmington, DE and the horseman makes it very clear that the filly’s recent struggles have not affected the group’s deep-seated fondness for the daughter of Striking Sahbra and Armbro Martini.
“It’s too bad, but you know what, she’s still a great filly, and she’s going to go on to be a great mama,” says the trainer, whose son Scott Zeron will steer Peach Martini from Post 6 in the ninth race.
In spite of her late season struggles, Peach Martini leads the sophomore trotting fillies into the season finale with a total of 269 points from four wins, two seconds and one fifth in eight Gold Series starts. Runner-up, and last year’s Super Final winner, Oh Sweet Baby wrapped up her season with 254 points and will start alongside Peach Martini at Post 7.
Woodbine Racetrack sends its first race behind the starting gate at 7:30 pm on Saturday and the cream of the Ontario Sires Stakes crop will take centre stage in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10, competing for a total purse of $2.4 million.
For complete entries please go to: Woodbine Racetrack Entries — Nov. 12, 2011