Courtesy Northlands Park Racing Staff
Go Dougie Go: Petrowski Student Shoots For A Million
You just can’t help but cheer for trainer Joan Petrowski. A kind heart. A friendly face. And, a barn full of nice racehorses.
So don’t be surprised by the roar that overwhelms Northlands Park on November 19. As Dougs Buddy strolls into the starting gate for the $1-millon Delta Downs Jackpot, he’ll have Alberta’s racing community in his corner. Forget that Vinton, Louisiana is 3,056 km from Edmonton. For Joannie, the Northlands family will get excited.
“It’s already been such an incredible year,” said Petrowski on Wednesday evening from Delta Downs. “Racing for one-million dollars is a pretty exciting thing. Who knows? If it all works out, maybe the Jackpot will be our ticket to the Kentucky Derby.”
You’ll forgive Petrowski for dreaming big. Two months ago, midway through an undefeated freshman campaign, she began to scout an extended path for her Kentucky-bred colt, Dougs Buddy. At the time, he’d won two straight stakes and was aiming for a triple in the Canadian Juvenile on closing weekend at Northlands Park.
“You never want to get too excited too early, but I started thinking we might have a Breeders’ Cup colt on our hands,” remembers Petrowski. “We ended up not making the payment, but if we had, we’d have drawn in ahead of Hansen and of course, he went on to win the Juvenile.
“Dougs Buddy was so strong in his last stake that we had to give him a chance at a big payday. Looking back now, I’m just as happy to be here. The weather is beautiful and everyone has been so friendly. The competition is going to be tough, but I think we rank third or fourth.”
It may not be Churchill Downs on the first weekend in November, but the Jackpot field will be a big step up from the local fare. Ten starting stalls will be available for the $1-million race and no fewer than two Breeders’ Cup graduates have staked their claims. Seventeen candidates pre-entered yesterday morning including the Bob Baffert trained Drill who followed up his G1 Del Mar Futurity victory with a tenth-place showing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
One thing Petrowski and owner Doug Blair won’t have to worry about is making the gate. By virtue of his $100,982 in earnings, Dougs Buddy ranks third on the earnings list of pre-entries and is thus guaranteed a stall if he wants one.
“We’re just thrilled to be part of it,” said Petrowski, who collected her first local training title this past season. “I think it’s a good spot for him. It’s a six furlong track and he’s used to the smaller oval. Delta Downs has a bit of a tiring, sandy track, but he’s taken to it. It’s a lot like Northlands, so I don’t see him having any problems.”
The Badge Of Silver colt left Edmonton shortly after the conclusion of the Northlands meet and shipped to Phoenix for a brief training stint prior to landing at Delta Downs two weeks ago. If his first Louisiana workout is any indication, the surface should present no issue. Dougs Buddy fired a bullet work on Tuesday morning, covering five furlongs in 1:02.80 Breezing. It was the fastest of 11 drills at the distance.
If Doug’s Buddy can be the fastest of 10 in the Jackpot, Petrowski’s Edmonton cheering section will surely make some noise.