In any great athlete, the will and desire to win burns hot. What made superstars like Michael Jordan or Tom Brady truly legends? Obviously, the talent level is extremely high in stars like them. The innate abilities that are both tangible and intangible were second to none in those two standouts and those traits along with one other glaring skill separates those that are the greats from those that become legends. The desire and need to win in the afore mentioned athletes is unmatched and the combination of their unique skill sets along with the heart and passion for winning made them the all-timers that they were (are) in the world of sports. Racehorses are similar to the human athletes in that way and the characteristics that transform talented horses into superstars can sometimes be pinpointed back to that heart and desire, and even the need, to win.
Any trainer will tell you, there are some horses in their barn that just want it more. Some that simply try harder. It can frustrate and even baffle the best trainer there is when they have a horse that they know has all the ability in the world and doesn’t have the results to mirror those talents. Sometimes, it just comes back to heart…that desire to win that feeds even our equine friends as much as it does many human athletes. Often that desire is indicated simply by the horse’s statistics. What is his/her win percentage? Does he/she have a lot of second and third place finishes but a disproportionate amount of wins. Certainly there are more factors in winning and losing than just heart but over the course of a horse’s career, you can usually identify the ones who really want it. The ones that have that nose for the finish line. The ones that just need to pass that last horse in a race as much as Michael Jordan wanted the ball to take the shot with ten seconds on the line in an NBA Finals game. They won’t be denied. While there are numerous horses that fit that bill in a given year, there is one currently competing at the highest level here at Saratoga Casino Hotel who has that nose for the finish line- that has that yearning to hit the wire first.
Chasethecloudsaway is a Monticello-based mare who joined the stable of trainer Chris Petrelli to start the young pacer’s 2021 campaign. After getting her career started in Canada, Chasethecloudsaway appeared to be a non-descript mare when she debuted for her new connections. Early on though, she showed a nose for the finish line and a propensity for winning. In her four year old season, Chasethecloudsaway rattled off victory after victory in the first half of the year at both Monticello Raceway and Plainridge Park climbing the class ranks as she went. By midway through her breakout season, Chasethecloudsaway made it all the way to the top competing in the Open at Monticello. She didn’t waste any time establishing herself as a star among the top lady pacers there as she added three more wins to her growing seasonal tally to go with a pair of second-place finishes in just six starts in the Open at her home track.
After her fairly dominant Open stretch out of town, Chasethecloudsaway made her Spa debut in October of last year. If anyone wondered whether the jump up in the level of competition from Monticello to Saratoga would put a stop to her hot streak, they would quickly find out that that was not going to be the case. Chasethecloudsaway came to town and not only proved she belonged but showed she could dominate. The winning machine scored victories in her first two tries in the local Open and posted four wins and a second in her first five starts at the Spa. Luke Hanners was the driver in all of the top-flight distaffer’s local tries. All told, in ‘21 Chasethecloudsaway earned more than $105,000 by way of an incredible sixteen wins!
Following one qualifier that took place at her home track, Chasethecloudsaway kicked off her 2022 campaign at the Spa on February 15th. The betting public didn’t seem too concerned about the winter layoff as they supported her as the 8-5 favorite in her return. Hanners was patient in the early going with the Petrelli trainee who picked up right where she left off last season when she swooped the group to make her seasonal debut a winning one. The following week in the Open, Hanners wasted no time powering the star mare out to the lead and despite sizzling through a first quarter in 27.1, she posted another victory. Last Monday, Chasethecloudsaway drew the outside post in a condensed field of five following a scratch. The five year old distaffer displayed her versatility as she took back to last in the early going and was at her best when called upon in the race’s final half. The 1-5 betting favorite in the $15,000 Monday feature, Chasethecloudsaway was still trailing the field at the top of the lane when Hanners asked her for her best. She then completed a last-to-first move in the stretch to complete her hat trick and move her record in ’21-’22 to 19 for 31 in the win column, an all but unheard of clip particularly factoring in that in about half of those wins, she faced top-flight Open caliber competition. The 2021 Horse of the Year Award at Saratoga was won outright by a pacing mare for the first time in twenty years as Surreal Feeling took home the honors following a monster campaign. Could the ladies go back-to-back in the Horse of the Year department? Being that it’s only the start of March, to talk about Horse of the Year would frankly be a bit crazy but with the propensity and aptitude for winning that Chasethecloudsaway had last season and the fact that she has picked up right where she left off in ’22, her resume is already building for consideration to be the type of horse who could see her name in consideration late in the year. Chasethecloudsaway loves to win and put that desire on full display in the season’s opening month at the Spa.
Live racing takes place every Saturday evening starting at 5:00pm and on Sunday and Monday afternoons beginning at Noon. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!