Kawartha Down’s Per Henriksen, lauded for his expertise with trotters, will make a rare appearance at The Raceway at Western Fair District with a horse that is the perfect example of why he is called ‘the fixer.’
Countless trainers, frustrated with trotters who refused to trot, have sent Per their problem horses over the years. One of the latest is the three-year-old trotting colt St James Gate. A son of Majestic Son, the horse had two trainers prior to heading to Per’s barn a couple of months ago. As a two-year-old he made three qualifying attempts and broke stride and was distanced in each one.
He headed to a new barn for his sophomore season which saw him attempt to qualify five times, all with the exact result, a miscue at some point in the mile. Per worked with the horse and his first charted line without a break anywhere in the mile came in a qualifying race at Mohawk on September 6 where Per drove him to a fifth place finish. It was the horse’s first start for Per.
St James Gate made his first pari-mutuel start on September 28 at Grand River Raceway where he won with Per in the bike in 2:02. He’ll make his second career start tomorrow night at London where he’s drawn post five in the first race.
Jeff Ruch of Innisfil and Alan Richardson of Kirkfield, Ontario, bred and own the trotter who is a full brother to $353,000 winner Rock Of Cashel.
This is just the fifth time this year Per’s made the trip from his Norwood, Ontario base to London. Before that he’ll start five horses tonight at Mohawk, three in the Ontario Autumn Series, and one at Flamboro Downs. In addition to St James Gate, he also has Cheer For The Cats racing at London Friday night along with Marquis Volo racing at Mohawk.
Saturday night at Mohawk he’ll harness three starters in the $250,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals. Bee In Charge and Muscle Hustle in the three-year-old trotting colt division and Jangone in the three-year-old filly trot split.
Per will be back in London on Monday where he’ll start Covert Operative, a winner of $228,000 in his career. He finished second, by a head, in Kawartha’s signature race, the Goodtimes’ Invitational, to Ramas Last Son.
An O’Brien Award winner as Horseman of the Year in 2007, Per is enjoying one of his best seasons ever this year with $1.1 million in earnings to date in 2016. His all time best in terms of purses was 2009 when his charges took in $1.6 million. The native of Norway has a total of 1,040 wins lifetime for $15.4 million in purses.