10/24/2012 11:33AM

Breeders Crown: Wheeling N Dealin hopes to cap undefeated season

New Image Media
Wheeling N Dealin (8) shown holding off Royalty For Life in last week's Breeders Crown elimination.

Success is hard enough to achieve. Perfection is reserved for a select few. Wheeling N Dealin has never tasted defeat in eight career starts entering the $600,000 Breeders Crown Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

Amazingly, for trainer R Dustin Jones, Wheeling N Dealin is not his first brush with perfection. Back in 1994, he sent Emilie Cas El behind the starting gate 13 times without failure. That filly went on to have a solid career and has produced foals which have been sold for well over a combined $1.25 million.

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Jones has kept Wheeling N Dealin close to home (he is stabled just 10 minutes from Mohawk Racetrack) through his first year of racing. The $100,000 Harrisburg purchase did everything right from the moment he began training but was far from a standout.

“He trained well, but he was never a flashy horse,” said Jones. “He’s a long-legged horse, but he didn’t have big muscles or anything. He just did his job.”

The only time Wheeling N Dealin did not cross the wire first was his initial foray on the track in a qualifier. He finished second on that July morning and must not have enjoyed the experience. Every 7 to 11 days after he would return to Mohawk and post victories, working his way up in class from smaller stakes like the Bridger to main events like the $462,000 Wellwood Memorial.

Following the Wellwood on September 15, Wheeling N Dealin received a rare break in his schedule. Jones elected to pass up a trip to The Red Mile in Lexington for the conservative route with the horse he calls the best he has ever trained.

“I wish I could have gotten a race in him before the Breeders Crown (elimination), but I didn’t want to take him to Lexington because I’ve sent horses there before that have come back sick, perhaps due to the amount of babies or just the shipping,” said Jones, who schooled and trained the horse at Mohawk in preparation for his Crown elimination.

Wheeling N Dealin responded to his trainer’s game plan with a gutsy effort in his elimination. The son of Cantab Hall-Quick Credit exhibited two comfortable early moves to secure the lead. He then rated a soft middle half of just 1:27 3/5 before fending off a very persistent Royalty For Life.

Saturday will clearly be the toughest test to date for Wheeling N Dealin. He will tackle half-mile record holder Dontyouforgetit, who starts just to his inside from the pylons. And, of course, Royalty For Life will take another shot at Wheeling N Dealin, though post 8 could pose some problems.

Although the competition is hard-hitting, Jones has all the confidence in the world in Wheeling N Dealin.

“I never want to underestimate anybody, but I’m glad I have him,” said Jones, who feels his colt could be ready for a bigger effort. “I think so. After what he did off five weeks, I have to expect him to be even better.”

Win or lose on Saturday, Jones, who finished seventh in this year’s Hambletonian with Prestidigitator, admits that he is already dreaming of another run at the marquee event in the sport.

“I’ve been there twice and finished seventh both times,” said Jones, who already has the future mapped out for Wheeling N Dealin. “I’ll turn him out for two months and probably qualify in mid May. He’s a Pennsylvania-bred, but I’ll probably just keep him at Mohawk and the Meadowlands until the Hambo.”

If things go his way on Saturday, the 51-year-old Jones will have all winter to dream about what could be and a few extra dollars for first class accommodations on the first Saturday in August in New Jersey.