Bucchero to represent Indiana in Schaefer Memorial
By Jennie Rees, Eclipse Award winning freelance writer
Bucchero might not win Saturday night’s $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand, but the winner probably will have to pass him at some point.
So believes Tim Glyshaw, who trains Bucchero for Harlan Malter’s Ironhorse Racing Stable. Bucchero is the leading older male horse in the Indiana-bred ranks, seeking to repeat in this fall’s Brickyard and three-peat in the To Much Coffee Stakes at Indiana Grand. But until then, the price of success is that, after taking a $45,000 allowance race to kick off his 5-year-old season, Bucchero has run out of non-stakes options for which he is eligible to compete.
That’s why Glyshaw shipped him to run in a stakes at Presque Isle last month, finishing a close second at 8-1 odds. That’s why Bucchero is in the Schaefer, where he faces graded-stakes winners Mo Tom, Eagle and Fear the Cowboy, as well as 2015 Schaefer winner Abraham.
“He’s run through all his (allowance) conditions, that’s why we had to go to the race at Presque Isle and to run in a race like this,” Glyshaw said. “There just aren’t Indiana-bred races for horses like him anymore, other than the two stakes, which are coming up in September and October. We have to fill in the gaps. But we’re not just throwing him into a spot where we don’t think he has any chance.
“It’s obviously going to be a tough race for him, but this was done for two reasons. No. 1, we think he does have a shot to win or we wouldn’t enter. He does have a very good record on the dirt here at Indiana Grand, and he’s run well against open company before. The last race at Presque Isle went in a very fast time, and he was right there. He got beat a couple of heads in the Mighty Beau at Churchill Downs last year against some nice horses.
“The thing that’s a bit concerting about this race is he’s naturally a sprinter. So if we want the lead, we can probably get it. But Paul Holthus’ horse (Abraham) shows some speed, so does the outside turf horse (Western Reserve). But he doesn’t have to have the lead. Obviously the two most-accomplished horses in the race are probably Mo Tom and Eagle. I’ve watched them run a lot, and they generally come from 10, 12 lengths back. They very well could run by all of us. But this usually isn’t the track that favors that kind of running style. If we’re not on the lead, we’ll definitely be up close.”
He might have distance limitations, but Bucchero certainly has run well in the 1 1/16-mile To Much Coffee, a bit longer than the Schaefer’s mile and 70 yard. The surface doesn’t seem to matter, with Bucchero running well on dirt, turf and, most recently, synthetic. In fact he’s won or been stakes-placed over all three surfaces. But dirt seems his real forte, being 5-3-0 in nine dirt starts, including four wins and three seconds in seven races at Indiana Grand.
“I’m sure he’ll be 10-1 or so in the morning line,” Glyshaw said. “But this is his track. He really, really likes it, has won a lot on it. Theoretically third race off the layoff should be your best race.”
Actually, Bucchero, who will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves, is the 5-1 fourth choice behind favored Eagle (5-2), Fear the Cowboy (3-1) and Churchill Downs allowance winner Money Flows (4-1) in the field of eight older horses.
Bucchero is a son of Kantharos, who won his three starts by a combined 29 lengths, including Churchill Downs’ Bashford Manor and the Saratoga Special before sustaining a career-ending injury. Bucchero now has earned $443,441 for Malter, who paid $43,000 for him at auction in 2014.
“The mare is a really neat story,” Glyshaw said of Bucchero’s mom, the General Meeting mare Meetmeontime. “She was a rescue mare. They found her starving in a field and looked at her tattoo and the sales history of the horse. They saw Karen and Greg Dodd of Southern Chase Farm were the last people to sell the horse like eight or 10 years before. They called and asked if they wanted her, and they said yes. They said, ‘We’re going to warn you, she might not make it the next couple of days. But if she gets over it in the next week or so, you’re willing to come pick her up.’ And they did.”
Greg Dodd, whose farm is near Ocala, said they sold Meetmeontime as a mare in foal.
“Some guy from south Florida bought a bunch of mares and was pasture breeding them to a stallion,” he said by phone. “There were 30-40 horses involved. It took Marion County like 30 days with court orders to rescue them. We found out about them and went to the animal shelter and rescued her back.
“That mare’s been good to us.”