Little Horse Has Big Task in Breeders Crown
TORONTO – “Little Napoleon” hopes to conquer the Breeders Crown.
Little Napoleon is the nickname of diminutive trotter Wishing Stone, who is among 10 horses in Saturday’s C$617,880 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old colts at Woodbine Racetrack. He has won three of eight races this season, included two stakes divisions at the recently concluded Red Mile meet in Lexington, and earned C$158,320.
“We call him Little Napoleon because he’s got that little man’s syndrome,” trainer Dewayne Minor said. “He doesn’t care how big they are, if they’re in front of him, he’s going after them.
“He measured out at 14 hands just before we left Florida (in the spring). I don’t think he’s grown much since. If he has, it’s only a centimeter. He’s actually pony size. But for a little horse, he’s got a big-horse gait and he’s got determination.”
After finishing fifth in the Peter Haughton Memorial in his third career races, Wishing Stone got his first victory by winning a division of the New York Sire Stakes. He was second, from post 10, in the American-National Stakes at Balmoral Park in Chicago before winning divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes at the Red Mile.
He was third in his Breeders Crown elimination race last Friday, finishing three-quarters of a length behind winner Pilgrims Taj.
“I really think he’s one of the top three,” Minor said. “With any luck, I think he can be a winner. There are some nice horses in there, I’m taking nothing away from them, but this little guy has been so impressive his last few starts. To me, he’s been impressive right along. With any luck, he can get the job done.”
Wishing Stone, who was purchased for $63,000 as a yearling, is a full brother to multiple stakes-winner Make It Happen, who was third in last year’s Hambletonian and fourth in the Breeders Crown.
“I thought the breeding was there and we watched his brother, Make It Happen, race,” said Minor, who also will race Levi’s Lady in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters. “(Wishing Stone) is a little small, but everything was there. I’m not afraid of a small horse; a lot of guys are.
“We call our place the Minor Pony Stable because a lot of our horses are kind of small. We never seem to have a chance to buy the bigger nice horses because they seem to go for so much.”
Minor did not see Wishing Stone for two weeks after buying him. He was surprised when he picked up the horse at Brittany Farms, which bred the colt with Daisy Acres.
“I forgot how small he was,” Minor said with a laugh. “I said, ‘That’s not him.’ The girl said, ‘Don’t let that little size fool you. He runs the field; he was the boss of the field.’ That’s the attitude he carries. He’s a nice horse to be around, but he doesn’t take any crap.”