09/03/2010 12:32PM

Bronze Barbarian outruns his 70-1 odds for trainer Christoffersen


FORT ERIE, Ontario – When Bronze Barbarian raced two weeks ago in an optional claiming race at Fort Erie, few believed that the 4-year-old gelding had much of a chance. After all, he had lost nine straight races since winning a nonwinners-of-two allowance in July 2009 and was beaten 19 lengths in his most recent start.

Sent off at odds of 70-1, Bronze Barbarian was facing the likes of Alezzandro, I’m Spectral, and some other talented foes. Yet, trainer Carla Christoffersen differed with the public’s opinion and gave her runner a shot to win it.

“He ran in the Canadian Derby last year at Northlands and was not that far off hitting the board,” said Christoffersen, referring to the Grade 3, $300,000 race at Northlands Park in which he finished fifth, three-quarters of a length behind fourth-place finisher Stylish Citizen, the 5-2 favorite. “He is bred for distance and will run all day,

“This spring, I tried him on the Poly against Artic Fern and True Metropolitan and although he finished sixth and last, I was pleased with his performance against those good runners. I am not sure why he ran so poorly prior to his win, but I was not about to give up on him.”

On the pace throughout, Bronze Barbarian proved that his trainer’s faith in him was well placed as he showed gameness and determination to prevail by a half-length. Bronze Barbarian paid $143.30 to win and set off, a $513 exacta, a $1,966 trifecta, and a $27,601 superfecta.

Christoffersen, 39, has been working around horses since she was a youngster and walked her first Thoroughbred when only 9 years old at Stampede Park.

Over the years, she graduated to groom status on the Alberta circuit and then at age 30, she gained her trainer’s license. Working with a small stable out west was a challenge, but her loyal owners remained alongside as she gained experience.

After spending last winter in Ocala, Fla., and chatting with fellow horsemen, she decided to try the Ontario circuit. Happily, her owners agreed and this spring Christoffersen arrived in Fort Erie.

“I am really enjoying the meet, the town and the people,” said Christoffersen. “It is nice that the wins have started to arrive.”

Last week she sent four runners to post and three went to the winner’s circle.

She has built some good relationships since her arrival and her barn now holds up to 15 runners.

Danny Dion, who operates under the name Bear Stable, is a long-time friend and is one of a few new owners in the barn that have helped brighten the scene.

Commenting on her plans for next year, Christoffersen is considering a winter in Ocala and then a return to the Fort.

“These are happy moments and things have been working out so well,” she said. “I will definitely be planning a return to Fort Erie.”

Currently, Christoffersen has a record at the Fort of 42-6-5-5 and a solid return on investment of $4.70.

◗ Legends Day at the Fort last Tuesday was a smashing success with the likes of Sandy Hawley and Lou Cavalaris Jr. making the public’s day. The nine-race card surpassed $1 million in handle, another sign that the 4 p.m. first post time introduced for Tuesdays in August has proven popular.