Market Share missed most of his two year old year, so it took a leap of faith for owner Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA to stake him to all the major three year old races. The colt won the 2012 Hambletonian, the richest and most prestigious of all trotting races, making Linda Toscasno the first woman trainer to win the race.
His hands were very nearly shaking as he signed Market Share’s stakes payments for this year, but when it came time for Richard Gutnick to accept the trophy after his colt’s triumph in the $1.5 million Hambletonian on August 4 they were quite steady.
This contest for 3-year-old trotters has been the richest of all trotting events since its first running at the Syracuse Fairgrounds in 1926. Although the race has changed venues several times, it is a now established at the Meadowlands and besides its large purse, remains the most prized and prestigious event for a trotter to capture.
“We staked him to everything this year, because we just didn’t know how good he was or would be,” explained the Blue Bell, PA resident. “When he was a 2-year-old he got a cold sore so we turned him out for five or six weeks and that’s when I dropped a lot of his staking. We wouldn’t have been able to make the Final for the Kindergarten as we needed to be in one more leg and I wasn’t about to supplement him to the tune of $20,000 for the Matron, so we just raced him where we could to get some experience in him and have him be bigger and stronger as a 3-year-old.
“We just really had no clue what we had, as he won all five of races, but had never been asked and did it well within himself,” Gutnick continued. “Linda (Toscano, the colt’s conditioner) said we had to stake him up, so we did and believe me when I was writing those stake payment checks it was scary. I spent $26,000 total.”
Undefeated Freshman Year
The son of Revenue S and Classical Flirt captured all five of his trips to the post as a freshman and earned $36,250. Purchased for $16,000 at the 2010 Lexington Select Sale, Market Share returned to the races this year with a victory in the $46,100 Dexter Cup Elimination at Freehold Raceway on April 28 and suffered his first career defeat in the $138,000 Final the following week when he threw a hind shoe during the race and went off stride. He came home seventh.
He then finished second, first and third respectively in New Jersey Sire Stakes contests at the Meadowlands on May 18, May 25 and June 2, before capturing his $29,100 Goodtimes Elimination at Mohawk Raceway on June 9. Once again, Market Share didn’t have the best of trips in the $343,980 Final on June 16 and was fifth.
“I was pretty excited when he was racing Vic Smith (June 2), but Vic Smith made a break at the start,” Gutnick recalled. “The syndicate manager from Southwind Farms called me after the race and asked if I was disappointed and I told him yes. I wanted to see Market Share asked a little bit so we would have some idea of what we had.”
The colt was then third in the $445,945 Yonkers Trot at Freehold on July 7, second in a 3-year-old Open at the Meadowlands on July 24 and won his $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination on July 28.
Gutnick, who sold shares in the horse to TLP Stable and William Augustine on August 1, felt Market Share was up with the top flight of his colleagues, but wasn’t exactly confident his colt would be the one that got the job done.
Shocked His Owner
“He stepped up and shocked me,” he said. “I thought he was one of four or five horses that could win with the right trip, but I always knew he had the desire and he gives 110 percent every time he goes out there. I told people before the race the horse with the best trip would win and his was not the best of trips. When he had to come first over, I thought, ‘oh no, we aren’t going to win it.’ Then he made that powerful move and I knew the other horses would be coming at him, so it was a question if he could hold on. The finish line came up just in the nick of time and that’s when the shock set it. I think he just had more of a desire. You can have a horse with all the talent in the world but if they don’t have that, they just aren’t going to be good.”
Besides establishing Toscano as the first female trainer in the history of the sport to win the Hambletonian, Market Share’s victory was even more notable for Gutnick, as that same duo thought they would be hefting the hardware last year with world champion Chapter Seven.
“I had 48 people with me last year at the Hambo and it was very difficult keeping a smile on my face after the race because we expected to win,” Gutnick, who also was a licensed trainer and driver, said. “I was very confident Chapter Seven was the best horse out there and people had not seen the best of him yet. In the paddock right before the race a little snot came out of his nose and Linda said, ‘oh no, not now.’ Then we were in the back of the pack, Fawkes broke right in front of him and he came back a little sore. We were lucky we got fourth and I never expected to be back here again, let alone win it the very next year. I said last year, this is a once in a lifetime experience and I only have eight horses in my stable. You never expect to get a second chance at the Hambo the following year.”
Although lightly raced last season, Market Share is gearing up for a significant campaign to close out his sophomore year.
“Basically my philosophy is, do what’s best for the horse and they will do what’s best for you,” Gutnick said. “If you don’t wait on them, sometimes they make you wait longer. The only things he’s not eligible to are the Kentucky Futurity and the Matron. I made him eligible instead for the American-National and the Galt out in the Chicago area as well as the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Breeders Crown, the Colonial and the Zweig. We really have him pretty well staked up. I’d be very happy for him to just put in solid performances and I know the one thing I never have to worry about with him is the effort. As I said before he always gives 110 percent and he has the same attitude as Chapter Seven. They both want to win.”
The colt certainly has not disappointed his owner in his performances following his Hambletonian triumph. He finished second to world champion Goo Goo Gaa Gaa in the $500,000 Colonial Trot at Harrah’s Philadelphia on August 19, then captured the $350,000 Zweig Memorial Trot at Vernon Downs on August 26, before finishing second, beaten only by a head after leaving from the nine hole, in his $40,800 Canadian Trotting Classic Elimination on September 8 at Mohawk Raceway.
Market Share then added a second million dollar race to his resume, when he just outfinished elimination winner Little Brown Fox by a scant neck after being boxed in on the rail for nearly the entire mile, to take the Canadian Trotting Classic Final on September 15.
“I just wanted him to win a race after the Hambletonian,” Linda Toscano said after he won the Zwieg. “And he did.”
Will Race at Four
Unlike the past several Hambletonian victors, Gutnick does not plan on retiring him and Market Share will race again at four, if all goes according to plan.
“I think he’s going to get better and better,” he said. “I plan on racing him next year and I think he will grow more between this three and four-year-old year. The Revenue S’s seem to improve with age and he is very sound. I’m not sure how much better he will become this year, as it’s difficult to say, but I’m happy if things keep going the way they are. Who would ever expect to have two horses like this? It’s unlikely but these things do happen. Horses can make liars out of all of us.”