05/24/2012 10:45AM

Meadowlands: Hurrikane Kingcole tops leg of New Jersey Sire Stakes

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The bargain purchase Hurrikane Kingcole makes his second start of the season on Saturday.

It’s a rich man’s game, so they say.

Don’t tell that to John McDermott. The affable conditioner must have known something others didn’t when he went to the Harrisburg yearling auction in the autumn of 2010. That’s where he found a colt others weren’t interested in and paid just $10,000 to take him home.

Hurrikane Kingcole, a son of Cams Card Shark, will make his second start as a sophomore in a division of the second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. The bargain-basement purchase may have come McDermott’s way due to some good karma.

At least that’s what he believes.

“I think this all has something to do with Hurrikane Billy G," McDermott said. "He was a great horse that I owned (and named) in partnership with my good friend Billy Garofalo. I went to Harrisburg and was going to buy his half-sister but got outbid by Chris Ryder. After the bidding I went up to Chris and asked if he would take a profit to sell me the filly. He said that he already had a buyer and couldn’t. So later on I bought Hurrikane Kingcole."

The good karma related to Hurrikane Billy G is that of a trainer who thought his horse to be extremely special and a key to his success on the racetrack. Not only did the trotter earn nearly $300,000 for the duo, but according to McDermott Hurrikane Billy G may have saved the trainer’s life.

“I was jogging him and he broke his shoulder," McDermott said. "I’ll swear he should have gone down, and any other horse would have. He didn’t go down and I think it’s because he knew it would have thrown me out of the sulky.”

Good karma can only go so far. Purchasing a $10,000 yearling that becomes one of the top two-year-olds in North America and finishes third in the Breeders Crown is something else. “I love the Cam Fella line," McDermott said. "I must have looked at 35 Cams Card Sharks at the sale and this one was the best. I also liked the fact that he was out of a young broodmare from a young stallion (Western Ideal).”

Last year Hurrikane Kingcole showed flashes winning five of 13 races and posting a 1:51 2/5 mark in a Matron Pace elimination. He showed so much front-end speed in Canada that many thought the horse to be one-dimensional.

“I’ve got to tell you this is not a high-strung horse," McDermott said. "Actually he’s got a good head and can definitely be raced in a hole.”

McDermott was so adamant that his colt could race from behind he insisted that despite drawing post nine in last year’s juvenile Breeders Crown elimination heat that the horse be raced from off the pace.

“I told my partners that if he couldn’t pass enough horses to make the final he didn’t belong in the final,” McDermott said.

Indeed Hurrikane Kingcole came from way back and finished third to earn a final berth.

A winner of $259,123 as a juvenile, Hurrikane Kingcole made his return to the races at the Meadowlands last week in a Sire Stakes leg and had an adventurous trip.

“I wanted to make sure that he raced from off the pace and closed well," McDermott said. "I didn’t care where he finished as long as he was strong at the end."

In fact the colt did close well but getting around the final turn was a little troublesome. “I don’t know what it is about the Meadowlands, but he definitely gets on a line on that turn,” said McDermott. “He doesn’t do that at any other track.”

While Saturday’s contest is important to McDermott, Hurrikane Kingcole’s first big race of the season will take place the following Saturday (June 2) at Yonkers in the $306,204 Art Rooney. He’s among six who entered and McDermott appears confident his horse will get around the half-mile track fine.

“I took him over there after his first qualifier and he trained a mile in 1:54," McDermott said. "I plan to go there on Tuesday and train him a trip before the race.”

As for this Saturday’s contest, Hurrikane Kingcole drew post seven in the $23,500 fifth race on the Meadowlands 12-race program. Tim Tetrick picks up the drive and could be more assertive now that the colt has had one race under his bridle. Last week Hurrikane Kingcole ducked inside in the homestretch and flashed a huge 25 4/5 final quarter finishing third behind Time To Roll. This week he’ll meet up with last year’s Metro winner Simply Business, who landed post six.

The colt, who is owned by McDermott’s Hurrikane Racing LLC., Jeffrey Kuhen, John Levy Racing Stable, Klee Cohen Brewer & Gordon, is also eligible to all of the big contests this year including the Max Hempt (Pocono), Meadowlands Pace and Adios (The Meadows) in the near term and the late-season events including the Breeders Crown (Woodbine). One race McDermott might not attend is the Little Brown Jug.

“He’s eligible to the race but I’d like to go easy on him in August and September and have him fresh for the end of the year,” said the trainer.

While the Jug has a magical feel for many trainers, McDermott seems to be applying the old horseman’s adage that you take care of the horse and he’ll take care of you.