It was Gold Cup and Saucer night 2012, and to put it mildly: Shane Baglole was shocked.
Panacotta, the horse he claimed for $3,000 just a week earlier had finished a bang-up second to former Woodbine Open horse Balanchine in 1:54. Panacotta’s mile was a blistering 1:54.4 at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
“I never expected it,” the 17-year-old owner said. “Gilles (Barrieau who drove Panacotta that day) just looked at dad and smiled and said ‘you have a nice horse.’”
In fact, it is unusual a horse like Panacotta (with $38,366 in lifetime earnings) would be able to go toe-to -toe and keep up with Balanchine and his $750,000 in earnings, but he did just that.
“Finishing second to a horse like that is quite a thing.”
Shane grew up with racing in his blood, as his mother, Ronota, is the CDP track photographer along with Gail MacDonald, while his father, Blaine, has a lifetime of involvement in the sport. Blaine boasts 70 trips to the winner’s circle as a driver since he started in the bike in the mid-1970s, but took a break from being an active participant in 2001.
When Blaine decided to get back in on the action in 2009, Shane joined his father at the barn as owner of Mr. Gilmour. The son of Force Of Life-Susan Shea gave Shane his early lessons in the sport, as he learned to jog the horse over Ian Moore’s farm track at age 14.
When it came time to move Mr. Gilmour along, the Bagloles purchased Ms. Campbell, who gave Shane his first stake win in a Atlantic Sires Stakes’ B Division at the Summerside Raceway.
“It’s not like any other race,” Shane said of his first stake victory, noting having Barrieau in the bike helped his chances. “You can’t go wrong with him. He’s one of the best drivers in The Maritimes.”
Ms. Campbell’s last start was in late 2011, leaving Shane again without a standardbred to race for the 2012 season.
He set his sights on the Alpine $3,000 claiming series held during Old Home Week and narrowed his selection down to a pair of horses before deciding to put his money down on Panacotta, trained by Frank MacInnis of Inverness, N.S. The No Pan Intended gelding won that night in 1:57.2 before changing ownership. Shane was worried a claim would be entered on him in the next leg of the series, so he opted to race normal conditioned races, where there was no fear of losing him.
“He’s a tiny little horse, but he was really well looked after by (the MacInnises) in Nova Scotia,” Shane said, noting the horse’s kind disposition. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After Old Home Week, Blaine got in the race bike, having solid success, including a pair of wins in the fall season. Shane admits he is more nervous when his father is on the racetrack with Panacotta, but there are some upsides.
“You don’t want anything to happen to him because he’s your dad,” Shane said. “But then when you do good, it means that much more because you did it as a team.”
Whenever Blaine has work commitments, Shane is more than happy to have one of Atlantic Canada’s top reinsmen, Mark Bradley, handle the driving duties. It makes sense for Shane, as his horse is stabled in the same barn as Bradley, not to mention Blaine is related to the driver. Since claiming him, Panacotta has earned $3,396 and won four races from 21 starts for his new connections.
Shane is currently in Grade 12 at Bluefield High School, with plans of attending business classes at Holland College in the fall. He is unsure where his involvement in racing is going to take him but plans on writing his trainer’s test this summer. Either way, the young horseman is just happy to have a race horse to call his own.
“I know I’m really lucky to have one,” Shane said. “Not everyone gets to do it.”
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in
The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.