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Well To Do Guru is Retired (07/14/13)

Posted Sunday July 14, 2013

                                                   By Mike Paradise

  The Leonard family has made the tough decision to retire its long-time star pacer Well To Do Guru.

  The 2011 Illinois Horse of the Year made an unsuccessful retuned to the races after a seven-month layoff last month that turned out to be the 9-year-old’s final start of his illustrious career.

  “We pulled his shoes off and he’s been prancing around in the field,” said his driver and job sharing conditioner Casey Leonard. “We decided it was the right time. Maybe we could have brought him back and raced him at 80 or 85 per cent in low level races but we didn’t want to cheapen him.

  “Well To Do Guru has been a great horse for all of his here at the (Harvard) farm and for the Gorman’s (Jim and Marilyn), his owners, for so many years.  Everyone involved with this horse from my dad Terry, his caretaker Teddy Pearson and the Gorman’s themselves have taken such pride and good care of him.

  “Nevertheless, he’s nine now and his age has finally caught up to him. He’s had his last race.”

   Well To Do Guru’s final start was a last place finish in the June 15 Broadway Preview stake at Balmoral Park when he was driven by Art Gregory, Jr. Ironically Casey drove his stable-mate Fort Silky to a victory in that Illinois bred stake.

  Well To Do Guru’s ends his career with 41 career victories, a lifetime mark of 1 minute, 49 and 3/5 seconds,  and $726,359 in earnings and, to say the least, he made almost 3/4’s of a million dollars the hard way.

  The horse did very little as a 2 or 3-year-old when the six-figure stakes are available, earning less than $30,000 in only 19 starts those two seasons.

  Well To Do Guru never won a race of over $40,000 in his career and yet he still had four consecutive seasons of over $100,000 in earnings and a career best as a 7-year-old in 2011 when he made 13 winner’s circle stops, raked in $217,354 and was named Illinois Horse of the Year.

  The homebred gelding was still going strong as an 8-year-old in 2012, winning 9 more races, all in Illinois stakes for Balmoral Park Free For All’s, and pulling down another $175,590,

  It didn’t matter to Well To Do Guru what size track he competed on and how Casey wanted to race him on any particular night.

  The horse captured the Maywood Park Pacing Series older state-breds the last three years and swept all three of its legs in 2011 and 2012, the same year he notched no less than seven Free For All events at Balmoral against open company horses, doing so on and off the pace.

  The Leonard’s adhered to a strict schedule every year of plenty of R & R for their prize pacer. Well To Do Guru never raced the consecutive weeks and never made more than 28 starts in a single year. The horse always ended his season in mid-November and didn’t start his next until the following mid-March

  Well To Do Guru went a longer than normal seven months between his victory on the November 16 Mc Keever stake at Maywood Park and his first and only start of 2013 in Balmoral’s June 15 Broadway Preview.

  “I told his owners he was like a pitcher in baseball who kept winning Cy Young awards. After the season was over he deserved his chance to come back to see if he could still compete at a high level,” said Casey. “The horse did it in his previous years but it turned out that this time he couldn’t.”

  Well To Do Guru was one of my personal Illinois bred favorites and, in my opinion, a shoo-in to be inducted in the Illinois Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

  He certainly will be missed.

  To view Archived Notes and Quotes click here

 

 

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