Day At The Track

"He is the nicest horse I've ever owned"

08:18 AM 19 Mar 2021 NZDT
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Our Majordan A, harness racing
Our Majordan A in action
Conrad photo

Ned Hodkinson didn't need to be asked twice if he wanted to buy an interest in Our Majordan A. Hodkinson was familiar with the harness racing pacer from watching races from Australia, and had a horse he once owned, My Alpha Rock N, compete against him.

"I made my mind up in 30 seconds," Hodkinson said with a laugh.

Hodkinson and Milton Leeman each bought an interest in Our Majordan A when owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover of Florida-based Enviro Stables decided to bring the horse to North America last spring and turn him over to trainer Virgil Morgan Jr.

Our Majordan A won 30 of 94 races and $370,543 during his career Down Under. His six lifetime wins in 1:50 or less were an Australasian record and his final triumph in Australia came in a track-record performance in the Group 1 Newcastle Mile.

Last year in the U.S., he won four of 14 races and $105,957. His top victory came in the $123,100 consolation division of the William R. Haughton Memorial, which he captured in a lifetime-best 1:47.3 at The Meadowlands.

On Saturday, the 9-year-old gelding will make his 2021 debut in the $22,500 Open Handicap at Miami Valley Raceway. Our Majordan A, with Brett Miller driving, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the field of 10.

"If you observed him (in Australia) you would have thought that he would acclimate to our style of racing," Hodkinson said. "He's got unbelievable gate speed and he's acclimated relatively well.

"When he came over here, he was kind of a nervous, high-strung horse. Virgil found a routine that really suits the horse. As time went on, he put weight on, and going the miles he was going, that normally doesn't happen. He really adapted well. He was in fine shape when we stopped with him."

Our Majordan A competed in several Grand Circuit stakes last year and is being staked again to some events this season.

The 59-year-old Hodkinson, an insurance agent who has enjoyed success as an amateur driver, trains a small stable of horses at Morgan's training center in central Ohio and gets to see Our Majordan A regularly.

"He's a professional," Hodkinson said. "He trains well every time he trains, no matter how fast you go. I don't see all the training sessions, but I've seen probably 80 percent, and he's always the same. He likes his work.

"I'm pretty sure he's the first horse I've ever had to win in sub-1:50," he continued. "I've had some nice horses, but I'm the odd man out in this partnership. Milt has had way more nice horses than me and Enviro has had Breeders Crown winners. This is the nicest horse I've ever owned. Seeing him going to the gate every time, particularly if he has a decent chance of winning, is very exciting."

The Open Handicap is race No. 12 Saturday at Miami Valley. Gd Western Joe, trained by Ron Burke, is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line with Chris Page in the sulky. The 6-year-old stallion has finished worse than second only once in eight starts this year, winning four.

Racing begins at 4:05 p.m. (EDT) at Miami Valley. For Saturday's complete entries, click here.

by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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