HELD out of racing at two so he could mature, Whiskey Blu has launched his sophomore campaign with a flourish.
The trotter has won all seven of his starts by a combined 25 lengths and banked more than $36,000 begging the question…Just how good is the gelding?
That’s an answer even his connections can’t provide.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” said Mark Weaver, whose Weaver Bruscemi LLC owns Whiskey Blu along with Burke Racing Stable and Kitefield Stable. “We’re anxiously waiting like everyone else.”
Some answers may become clearer at The Meadows tonight when Whiskey Blu attempts to stretch his unbeaten streak to eight in the opening leg of the Terry Altmeyer Memorial Trot for three-year-old colts and geldings.
This may be his sternest test yet as he’ll lock horns with Jujubee, a son of Creatine which has four victories from seven outings, boasts a mark of 1:56.3 and has never finished off the board.
They’ll meet in race two where Whiskey Blu leaves from the rail for trainer Ron Burke and regular pilot Dan Charlino, while Jujubee goes from post four with Tony Hall for conditioner Greg Wright junior.
Whiskey Blu was purchased for $35,000 last year as connections were attracted in part by his pedigree.
The Burke team campaigned the youngster’s Dad, and even though Southwind Frank since has been syndicated, Burke’s groups are the majority owners.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing with Whiskey Blu.
“We brought him north, and he wouldn’t trot,” Weaver recalls. “Ronnie did a great job taking his time with him.
“Usually, we don’t bring three-year-olds back until April, but this guy got it sorted out. He seems to be doing it easy.”
Indeed, he’s comfortable wherever Charlino puts him, turns on the trot whenever he’s asked and reaches for more when a challenger dares confront him.
But he’s yet to face top competition and may not get many opportunities, at least this year.
He’s eligible for Pennsylvania Sires Stakes, which typically attracts some of the sport’s best, but few of the marquee Grand Circuit events.
He’s paid into the Bluegrass, the Liberty Bell and the Keystone Classics, so if Whiskey Blu is to make his mark in his division, he’ll need to sparkle in his handful of chances — and deal with the pressure of being undefeated.
“There is a little bit of that,” Weaver says. “How often do you have a horse that’s never lost? It kind of plays mind games with you.
“I hope he continues to race well — particularly for purses with maybe an extra zero or two on the end of them.
“There’s no reason to think he won’t be a really top trotter, but it takes a little imagination. He needs to drop about five seconds to get to that level.”
- EVAN PATTAK