Recently a pair of speed demons who are shoo-ins for the Big Tease Hall of Fame retired from racing. Six-year-old Hurrikane Kingcole is shopping himself as a stallion prospect, while five-year-old Shebestingin has accepted an exalted position in the broodmare band of Captaintreacherous. And another blue chip candidate, the little Ponder lightning bolt, Bandolito, has also been grabbing headlines with his season’s best wire to wire win in 1:48.1 at Dover Downs for owner-trainer-driver Daryl Bier. What is it that sets this trio, and several others, apart from the rest? Many horses fool us, but the Big Tease Hall of Famers take it to another level.
Bandolito didn’t race at two, and the following year he knocked around the lower condition ranks in Pennsylvania, winning six times, and foreshadowing better things to come. In August he headed for The Red Mile and took a big bite out of the lucrative, but lightly subscribed to, Kentucky Sire Stakes account. Daryl Bier steered him to wins for 15 and $30,000, followed by an October 1st $250,000 final for Tim Tetrick. His nine wins in 11 starts were good for almost $190,000.
The following April Bandolito set a season’s record when he won at Dover Downs in 1:48; just as he has the fastest mile of the year in 2015. The problem is that all that speed hasn’t translated into a successful move up the class ladder. He did win an open-preferred HC at Dover, as well as a preferred pace at Pocono, after that fast mile, but he failed to convert in the Van Rose and Molson and subsequently missed four months.
Since then Bandolito has pretty much stayed in Delaware. The five-year-old has converted in 17 of 40 starts and earned almost $320,000, but he leaves us wanting more.
The same can be said of the Bettor’s Delight mare, Shebestingin. Sting went the fastest mile ever by a filly or mare when she won the Glen Garnsey at The Red Mile in 1:47 as a sophomore. She takes a back seat to only SBSW and He’s Watching in that age group. She also equaled the 1:49 world record for a three-year-old pacing filly when she won the EBC by 10 lengths at Tioga. And she set an all-performer track record at Miami Valley when she won the inaugural Chip Noble in 1:50.4 for David Miller.
While Bandolito has never bolstered his speed resume with an open stakes win, Shebestingin won the Nadia, Bluegrass and Matron. Still, it’s disappointing that she only took three of 14 starts at four and five, earning about $71,000.
Master Of Law, the fastest son of Deweycheatumnhowe, is another Big Tease. MOL didn’t race at two, and in the two and a quarter years since he’s only started 28 times, winning 11 of them and earning about $367,000. Like Bandolito, he won a $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final in 2013. He raced under the tutelage of Frank Antonacci through the Hambletonian Maturity in early July of last year, where he broke stride and finished back. He’s not quite in the break or win mold of an Arndon or Arnie Almahurst, but in the same neighborhood.
Trot whiz Jimmy Takter took charge, and after shaky performances in the Vincennes and Crawford, he beat 1-9 Sebastian K, Creatine and Natural Herbie in the Centaur at Hoosier Park, over an off track at odds of 21-1 with Takter driving. As is customary with the Big Tease nominees, after his big win he was supported by the bettors in the Allerage Open and the American-National, and he broke in both. Since that time he has a couple of wins against lesser stock in five 2015 starts. In full stride the son of millionaire Breeders Crown winner, Possess The Magic, is a sight to behold, but maintaining his composure is an issue.
Archangel, the black Credit Winner speedball, wowed us when he won his Cashman elimination in a world record 1:50 in July. Driver Yannick Gingras wasn’t surprised, stating after the race that if the trotter hadn’t broken stride while following Sebastian K home in that one’s world record 1:49 mile at Pocono, he was sure Archangel would have been there at the wire.
Archangel also set a world record when he beat Market Share and Googoo Gaagaa in the Yonkers Trot. He broke Earl’s 19-year-old track record at Batavia in a split of the NYSS at three. He set a Vernon Downs track record of 1:53.4 in a division of the Empire Breeders Classic. Setting records was no problem. And despite sitting out his four-year-old season to get a jump start on his breeding career, Archangel earned more than a million dollars.
The hole in his game was that, aside from the Tompkins Geers, the Yonkers Trot was his only open stakes win. When he came back under Ron Burke’s direction for the 2014 season, he won only two of 17 starts, an open at Yonkers in late May and that record setting Cashman elimination. As is the case with all the rest, there was an impasse between speed and production.
The good news is that while Archangel had a problem attracting mares the first time around in New York, his book filled right up in trot stallion starved Ontario.
Last but not least is the double-time Cam’s Card Shark pacer Hurrikane Kingcole. The recently retired six-year-old has routinely pricked our attention with his mid-race sweeps to the top, but like his tease-mates a split of the Nassagaweya is all he has to show for that world class speed. He opened that race in :26.4 and finished the mile in a very fast 1:51.4, but that was way back in 2011, when he was a freshman. He won the Pace consolation in 1:47.3 and made the mile for Panther Hanover—another prime candidate—in his 1:47.2 win in the New Jersey Classic. Kingcole hit the ¾ mark in 1:18.2 in that one. But in the end, the long striding pacer Yannick Gingras says is the fastest he ever sat behind, only won at a 29% clip—14 for 49—and earned less than $600,000. Nothing wrong with those numbers, but they don’t live up to his fleetness of foot.
All of the above have exceptional speed, issues that keep them off the track more than their contemporaries, and a paucity of open stakes wins. Every one of them has thrilled us at one time or another and all have eaten more than their share of out betting dollars. Those are a few of the reason’s they’ve been nominated to the Big Tease Hall of Fame.