Cooler Schooner is the fastest two year old trotter ever.
The Campbell brothers knew they had a filly with a fantastic turn of foot and tons of trot. They also knew it might be time to switch up their game plan, but never in their wildest dreams did they think it would result in Cooler Schooner becoming the swiftest 2-year-old trotter of all time.
“We decided to do whatever she wanted,” her pilot John Campbell, told Jay Bergman of the Daily Racing Form on August 26. “I wasn’t going to fight her.”
Owned and bred by Jules and the late Arlene Siegel’s Fashion Farms in New Hope, PA, Cooler Schooner is a daughter of Broadway Hall and the Pine Chip mare Pine Schooner. Conditioned by John Campbell, the filly is the seventh foal from her dam and is a half-sister to Pine Glide (Yankee Glide, t, 5, 1:57.4F, $99,247) and a full sister to 2009 Hambletonian Oaks victress, Broadway Schooner (t, 1:53.3M, $885,923).
“She showed speed the whole time we were training her down,” Jim said. “But sometimes you have to be careful when you are in that situation and they are showing you that speed, because when it comes time to get ready to race, they flatten out at a certain level. She didn’t though. She was very athletic and kept going right on down.
“She looks a little bit like her (Broadway Schooner),” he continued. “She was training down a little bit like her. The difference is Cooler has more high speed and gets over the ground easier than her sister did. She don’t even realize how fast she is going because she does it so easily.”
Cooler Schooner captured her first qualifying race on June 8 at the Meadowlands and her career debut in a $13,000 non-winners race at Harrah’s Philadelphia on June 21 in a very sharp 1:56.1. But in her $30,000 PA All Stars contest at Pocono Downs on July 5, she broke stride and came home fifth as the heavy favorite. Her next engagement was a very nice second place finish in her $20,000 Merrie Annabelle Elimination at the Meadowlands on July 26, but in the $321,700 Final the following week the filly had to leave from the 10 hole and ended up jumping it off again. Cooler Schooner’s next performance was another break and seventh place finish in the $25,206 Historic on August 14 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
After that contest, the Campbells decided it was time to rework their strategy with this young lady and brought her into a $66,446 PA Sire Stakes race on August 21 at Pocono Downs fully prepared to execute their new plan.
“The only problems she’s really had at the gate are when she had the 10 hole for the Merrie Annabelle Final and one time (breaking stride), it wasn’t her fault,” Jim explained. “A horse in front of her broke and she was interfered with so she broke. When she broke at Pocono she just got a little too wound up and threw herself off stride. She really likes it when you just kind of let her do her own thing and when you do she does it very nicely.”
Cooler Schooner went straight to the lead after breaking from post five and John, not known throughout his Hall of Fame career for sending young horses, just gripped the lines through an opening quarter of 26.4, a half in 54.4, three-quarters in 1:23.2, and the mile in an astounding 1:51.3. The Merrie Annabelle winner and overwhelming favorite Shake It Cerry, who began to cut into the filly’s lead at the top of the lane, couldn’t stay with her and Cooler Schooner scooted away. The new world record holder on any size track for her age, gait and gender lowered the previous mark of 1:53.2 established by Manofmanymissions in 2010 and equaled by Check Me Out in 2011. She didn’t just best the previous standard, she obliterated it. Only the outstanding and amazing Artsplace has ever come that close to going that quickly as a baby (1:51.1) and he was a pacer.
“We always knew she had a ton of ability,” John said in the winners’ circle that evening. “She hasn’t been very consistent. I thought she could trot in 1:52 and the filly coming from behind is a super filly.”
Jim was of the same mind-set as his brother about the world record.
“I was surprised because I didn’t think a 2-year-old trotting filly would ever go there,” he said. “But the track at Pocono is so fast and the horses get it over so easy. John said afterwards he wasn’t surprised she did that because her speed comes so easily to her.”
PA Sire Stakes Race
All eyes in the harness world were set upon race 5 at Harrah’s Philadelphia on August 30 at 2:01 in the afternoon for a $84,328 Pennsylvania Sire Stake race. This was Cooler Schooner’s next start subsequent to her dazzling world record effort and this field also had some very nice opponents. Designed To Be, the second choice, conditioned by Julie Miller, sported a record of 4-2-2 and over $80,000 in the bank and Erv Miller’s filly, A Perfect Gem, owned a record of 7-4-2-1 and earned $100,000 during her brief career.
Once again, Cooler Schooner shot out of the gate from post position three and went a first quarter in :26.4. Her half was 55.3, three quarters in 1:25 and she stopped the clock in 1:54.2, defeating Designed To Be by a head. The final time was a track record.
“Sometimes she is just a little too eager to go,” Jim said. “In her last race though after she went that first quarter, she did relax and came right back to John. When she gets into her rhythm like that she just glides along by doing her own thing, she really does it very nicely and when I think she is on her game she can do it from anywhere. The speed comes really easy for her.”
After the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sunday, September 15, where she finished fourth, Cooler Schooner will head down to The Red Mile to compete in the Bluegrass State before traveling back to Pocono to end her season in the Breeders Crown.
“She is definitely not boring to be around,” Jim said. “She has a little bit of her own tendencies, but when she puts everything together it makes the bad days with her worthwhile. In an ideal world, our plans for her are to go to the Sire Stakes Final at Chester, than probably one race in Lexington, and then we will get her to the Breeders Crown.”