Day At The Track

Wrenn hopes Timon As can handle half mile

02:09 AM 01 Apr 2021 NZDT
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Timon As, harness racing
Timon As winning at Pompano Park
Dee Leftwich photo

YONKERS, N.Y. – In some respects, Timon As is one of the most accomplished horses entering the first leg of the John Brennan Trotting Series, which begins Wednesday night (March 31) at Yonkers Raceway. His 19 wins, including six so far this year, make him the winningest of the 32 first leg entrants. However, the 5-year-old gelding by Lionhunter has only seen a half-mile track once in his career and it didn’t go well.

Timon As started at Northfield Park July 20, 2019 and missed the gate by about 2 lengths. After taking back from post seven, Timon As went offstride around the first turn and was distanced from the field for the rest of the mile.

“If he’s good and he gets around the track, he’s going to be a contender,” said trainer Melanie Wrenn. “If he doesn’t like the track, then we’re going to be out of luck.”

Timon As has come a long way since that start at Northfield Park. He joined the Wrenn stable in the fall of 2019 and things started to click. Timon As won three straight overnights at Pompano Park by a combined margin of 9 lengths from Nov. 27, 2019 to Dec. 10, 2019. However, as Timon As moved up the class ladder following those wins, he lost confidence and started making breaks again.

“Peter (Wrenn) has done a really nice job brining this horse along. He was pretty green when we got him. Racing him the way that he’s raced him, I think he’s helped make that horse who he is,” Melanie Wrenn said. “Mentally the horse was very immature. We were winning all these races and all the sudden, he had to step up in class. He was just like, no thank you. Peter was very patient with him. He does a pretty nice job putting him in the right spots.”

The Wrenns campaigned Timon As primarily at Hoosier Park throughout 2020 and a result other than a win or a break in stride was a rarity. Timon As went 7-for-20 last year, but also broke in seven starts. However, after returning to Pompano Park this winter, things started to click again. Timon As has stayed flat and has seven wins in his last 13 starts dating to Dec. 21.

The Wrenns raced Timon As in the $30,000 claiming handicaps at Pompano throughout the winter, and Timon As crossed the wire first in three straight tries at the level Feb. 8 thorugh Feb. 22 (although he was placed second in one start). Not wanting to lose him, Timon As stepped up to the $11,500 open trot and won in a lifetime best 1:53.1 March 2. After two off-the-board finishes from outside posts, Timon As will make his way to Yonkers for the series.

“Honestly, it seems like he’s been overachieving. He got down (to Pompano) and he really seemed to like it. He’s just been racing really well,” Wrenn said.

“His last start before the open, he went pretty big. Peter didn’t want to lose him. In the beginning, we thought if we got $30,000 for him, that’s pretty good. But after he won a couple nice starts, we thought we better not give this horse away,” she continued. “We tried the open and he went that really big start. Then, we drew bad. Peter took him off and he sort of lost interest. He deserves a shot to try a nice series with some nice horses out there and go for some good money.”

Previously the SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series, the John Brennan Trotting Series was renamed to honor the longtime SOA of NY horsemen’s representative who passed away from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020. The series is for 3-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six pari-mutuel races or $100,000 through Feb. 1, 2021, with winners over $150,000 as of that date not eligible. The series features three preliminary legs March 31, April 7, and April 14 with a $50,000 added final and a consolation April 21.

Wednesday’s first leg features four divisions, each with four entrants. Timon As is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the second division (race five) with Tyler Buter set to drive for the first time.

“We race a couple horses here and there out at Yonkers. Why not give him a chance? Why not give him a shot and see how good of a horse he is. It’s pretty much trial by fire. Even at Sunshine Meadows, the inside track is a five-eighths. We really haven’t had him on a small track,” Wrenn said. “He likes going into the last turn and floating around there and zooming by everyone at the end. He won’t have quite as much room to get that done on a half. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just bring him back to Hoosier.

“I just hope he has some luck because his owner, Mike Guest, is a super nice guy. It would be fun for him to have a nice horse go out there and do some good,” Wrenn continued. “Over the years, we’ve usually had a couple for him. We’ve had quite a bit of luck. We had Perfect Chapter As with him and he won a lot of races. He keeps one or two with us, generally. This is the only one we have right now. Maybe he’s just a lucky guy, we’ll see.”

Yonkers Raceway features live harness racing Monday through Friday with a first post time of 7:15 p.m. For entries to the races, click here.

By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

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