Heidi Rohr made an immediate impact after coming to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete late last decade. Making her presence felt immediately, the conditioner won the Peerless McGrath Award for top breakthrough trainer in 2009 and the awards didn’t stop there. Rohr was named Horsewoman and Trainer of the Year in 2013 and 2014, securing her first local training title in ’14. After a bit of a “down” season by her stable’s standards in ’16 in which she ended up fourth in the trainer standings, Rohr has come out with a vengeance this year. Coming into the week with a training average of an unheard of .525, Rohr entered the week with 19 wins in just 47 starts in ’17. While the barn has diversity among classes (it has a pair of Open victories already this year), the strong start is due in large part to a claimer, one that has been dominant thus far and is the winningest horse in the ’17 campaign at the Spa.
That’s Some Plan brought a five-race win streak in to his Saturday tilt. Eric Walstrom and Dave De Martino claimed That’s Some Plan last December at Plainridge Racecourse. Walstrom and De Martino forged a relationship when the two were state employees that worked in the paddock. They decided to get horses with Rohr and her husband Jim Nickerson after leaving their state jobs. Nickerson knew that That’s Some Plan was a 135k yearling and was superbly bred. Despite the fact that he had earnings of less than $60,000 in his career, they decided to acquire him late last year. That’s Some Plan didn’t have immediate success after the claim as he was seemingly running in to tough race luck. Bad posts, fast miles and general bad racing luck marred his first handful of starts after the claim. Following a slow winter competing out of town, That’s Some Plan returned to Saratoga on opening day and once again drew poorly, starting from the seven post in a seven horse field. He showed some signs of life in the stretch, though, while coming on to finish fourth in a race that would serve as a launching pad for what was to come.
The six year old pacer went coast to coast in a $12,500 claimer the following week, pulling off a mild upset at odds of 6-1 with out-of-towner driver Greg Merton in the sulky. The following week, That’s Some Plan moved into a $12,000 claiming-condition race and simply jogged. Billy Dobson, one of Rohr’s regular drivers, cruised the rising star out to the early lead, a lead that would grow to nearly seven lengths before he stopped the timer in 1:56 to complete his back to back jacks. The win streak that started in late February continued through the first weekend of April for That’s Some Plan who despite once again drawing difficult post positions, rattled off five consecutive victories heading into Saturday night’s tilt. His most recent three wins came with a variety of journeys. One after a pocket trip, one while flying home in a 27.4 final quarter after getting buried on the rail after leaving from post eight and most recently one while on the engine. The win that led up to Saturday’s start, which would serve as the red hot pacer’s toughest test yet, came in career best fashion. That’s Some Plan went wire-to-wire in 1:53.3 on the final weekend of March despite stepping up to the $15,000 claiming level.
Riding a five race win streak, That’s Some Plan was again up in company while competing as a $20,000 claimer. The trouble for the razor sharp pacer was that while he was jumping up in class, several of his rivals were dropping, a couple of which having competed in the Open in the past month. The Rohr stable star did enjoy the luck of the draw on Saturday and starting from the rail made winning his sixth straight very feasible. Dobson, who drove That’s Some Plan to his four most recent victories, moved him out to the lead once again but in doing so, set a grueling pace. After briefly yielding the early lead, That’s Some Plan retook in a first quarter clocked in 26.3. After a half in 55.3, it appeared unlikely that the pacer’s win streak would continue. The red hot Rohr trainee got passed by two rivals late and had to settle for third place on Saturday night, bringing his impressive win streak to an end. It was yet another solid showing for a horse who just a couple of months ago was struggling to have any success at all. Surprisingly, That’s Some Plan was claimed out of Saturday night’s race and will make his next start out of the stable of conditioner Asa Cooper Jr. You could say that the “plan” worked perfectly for That’s Some Plan’s connections as they took a horse who started the year with less than $60,000 in career earnings, rattled off five consecutive victories with him and got him claimed for more than they originally paid for him. What success That’s Some Plan will have moving forward and whether or not his now former connections will reacquire him at some point remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, with more than six weeks behind us already, That’s Some Plan is the winningest horse thus far in the 2017 campaign at the Spa.
Live racing takes place during the afternoon on Thursdays and Sundays with matinee races beginning at 12:15pm. Friday and Saturday nights have 6:45pm first posts. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!