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Strawkins breaks track record in Pot O’ Gold Futurity


May 27, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

The fastest qualifier in the Pot O’ Gold Futurity trials was just warming up for the big race. In the $33,400 final on April 24 at Sun Downs in Kennewick, Washington, Strawkins broke first from the gate and scooted home in front all the way to the wire,
finishing the 300 yards with a length and 3/4 to spare in :15.39 with Clark Jones on board and posting a speed index of 105.

It was Strawkins second career out. The gelded son of Hawkinson out of Shirleys Strawfly, by Strawfly Special, earned $13,360 for this win under the tutelage of trainer John Harris.

Guys Like It, a filly by First Down Dash out of Speedway Fast, was second under the reins of Cameron College for owner Hayden Brothers Ranch and trainer Lin Melton. In third was BL In The Knud, a grey gelding by Like A Beduino out of Goldrusher owned by Gordon and Bud Knudsen, trained by Mark Garrison, and ridden by Travis Hamilton.

“He’s showing us some real potential,” said an excited Don Boyle, owner with wife Peggy, following Strawkins’ win. “In two outs, he’s run a 102 and a 105 speed index, and he set a new track record.”
The previous record of :15.40 was set in 1992 by Pleasure Dash.

“He was a little erratic in the trial,” Boyle explained. “He didn’t have a real smooth trip, and Clark Jones had to really take ahold of him about midway through the race to keep him out of trouble.
“We figured he could run a lot better than he did in the trials. He came out of the 3-hole in the finals, and he had to stand in the gate for a good five minutes, but he was pretty focused. Once the gate popped and he was about 40 or 50 yards out, we saw him start to pull out and I saw Clark Jones put his whip away and just sit there. And he started pulling away. At about 200 yards, I kind of knew we had it made unless something drastic happened.”

Not bad for a freshman runner that nearly died in his first week of life.

As a new foal, Strawkins contracted the soil borne bacteria infection clostridium perfingens, which can be fatal to foals within five days of birth. He was under 24-hour watch with IV’s at the veterinarian’s for a few days and then received IV injections for another 10 days. By the time he was a yearling, Boyle was excited about the horse as he watched him in the pasture with the other colts.

Trainer Harris said Strawkins may be a little green, but is very focused.

“When you get him into a race, he’s pretty much pure business,” Harris said. “He looks straight ahead down the track, and I think that’s all he’s got on his mind.”

Off the track, Harris said Strawkins is a “pussy cat” most of the time. He was a bit standoffish in early training, but has come around now. “His mother was that way too. I raced her when she was running,” Harris said.

Strawkins will head for Grande Prairie, Alberta to compete in the trials for the Ford Juvenile Challenge at Evergreen Park on July 23. The finals run August 8. He will then head for the Canada Cup Futurity trials at Whoop-Up Downs in Lethbridge in the fall.

Since Strawkins’ Pot O’ Gold performance, the Boyles have turned down several nice offers for him that would have pointed the colt toward the All American.

“We’ve been breeding these horses for years and we figured we might as well enjoy them. That’s what we’re in the game for,” Boyle explained.

The Boyle’s mare and dam of Strawkins, Shirleys Strawfly, also produced Mr Eye Will, a five-year-old gelded son of Mr Eye Opener. Mr Eye Will won the Bayer Legend Canada Challenge at Lethbridge and the Charlie Russell Derby at Kalispell in 2003, breaking the track record at Kalispell in the process. His best speed index is 107. Mr Eye Will is currently turned out for a rest.

A three-year-old filly out of Shirleys Strawfly and by Takin On The Cash is currently back in training after qualifying for two futurities but sustaining a chip injury as a two-year-old. “We’re hoping we can get something done with her this summer, too,” Boyle said. Raining Fresh Daisys will start at Grants Pass and then go to Canada for the Bayer Legend Derby Challenge in Lethbridge. Trials are June 12 and finals are June 26.

The Boyles are also the owners of 2004 Canadian Champion, A Special Martini. Bred by Buckey Stockwell, A Special Martini (Special Leader-Chica Martini) won five races last year (3 stakes, placed second twice (one stakes) and was third once, with career earnings of $54,556.

The Boyles have three broodmares on their farm in Madras, Oregon about 50 miles north of Bend, with nine major snow-capped peaks visible and the Deschutes River coursing through the area. Currently five horses are in training for this season. Boyle’s dad, Chet, ran Thoroughbreds in the 1950s and ‘60s during summers while holding a career as a school administrator.

When kids came into the mix of his family life, Chet felt family interests were best served by switching the horse activities from racing to halter and working Quarter Horses. He owned a couple of Two Eyed Jack studs and sold a lot of horses around the country.
“But he always liked the running horses, so he ended up drifting back,” Boyle said. And so running Quarter Horses became part of the racing scene. Chet trained on the race circuits in Oregon and Northern California. He passed away last year at the age of 81.

Boyle has been hands-on in breeding and racing himself now for about 25 years and hooked up with John Harris about 10 years ago. “He kind of talked me into going into the futurity and stakes programs with the horses,” he said.

It’s a good thing he did.

The rest of the order of finish for the Pot O’ Gold, with owners, is as follows: Royal Suspect (4th), Virginia Austin; Heart Streakin, W.R. Brigden & J. Juris; Tru Socialite, Matt Hayden; and First And Rapid, Robert Hickman. Scratched were Hasta Be Hawkin, Cb Bullion, and Overnight Fly.