06/11/2014 10:13AM

Mohawk: Settlemoir enjoying a ‘Perfect’ year

Derick Giwner
Jason Settlemoir co-owns the undefeated-in-2014 Perfect Alliance with Jeff Gural, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger.

When Jason Settlemoir was offered the opportunity to purchase a piece of Perfect Alliance prior to the Empire Breeders Classic in June of 2013, he jumped at the chance. Nearly a year later, he never could have imagined the 4-year-old trotting mare would take him on the ride of a lifetime and offer him the hope of a winner’s circle appearance after Saturday’s C$266,000 Armbro Flight final at Mohawk Racetrack.

Perfect Alliance, without a doubt the best horse Settlemoir has ever owned, has amassed a spectacular 11-for-11 record and earned $122,575 in 2014 for him and fellow owners Jeff Gural, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. Along the way, the daughter of Credit Winner-Yalta Hanover has defeated Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and posted track and world records.

“It’s been a dream come true. Sometimes it is still hard to believe,” said Settlemoir, who admits it only recently set in how good Perfect Alliance has been this year.

“We were very happy winning the Singer at the Meadowlands and the Weiss at Pocono. When she set the track and world record at Woodbine in the Miss Versatility, and then come back in the Armbro Flight elimination in a track record (Mohawk), that kind of solidified that it all wasn’t a fluke.”

Perfect Alliance’s world record clocking on May 19 at Woodbine was 1:51 2/5, which was a second faster than any of her previous miles. She followed that up with a 1:51 4/5 track record at Mohawk in the Armbro Flight eliminations.

New Image Media   Perfect Alliance is the 6-5 morning line    favorite in the Armbro Flight final.

Settlemoir, who has owned a few handfuls of horses over the last 15 years, was out of the ownership game almost entirely from 2002 to 2010. “I got a little sour,” he recalled. “I had one that died on me while getting ready for PA Sire Stakes and another that had a bowed tendon.”

Perfect Alliance won only twice in 18 starts as a 2- and 3-year-old but has been a new horse since joining the Julie Miller barn this year. Settlemoir credits the mare’s success almost entirely to the job Miller has done along with her husband Andy.

“Andy and Julie deserve all the credit in the world. She had something like eight different drivers last year and I think having Andy behind her every start and getting to know her really helped,” said Settlemoir.

Of course Andy will not be in the bike on Saturday due to a racing-related injury suffered back in April. While he is in recovery, one of Settlemoir’s closer friends, Yannick Gingras has taken over the assignment.

“I’d rather see Andy in the bike than the current situation. [Andy and I] exchange text messages before and after her races and I speak to him at least once a week to see how he is doing. But to have Yannick, one of my best friends driving her, makes it all the more special,” said Settlemoir, who will embark on the 10-hour drive north from New Jersey to Campbellville, Ontario to witness the Armbro Flight first hand.

For Settlemoir to make it to the winner’s circle on Saturday, Perfect Alliance will have to defeat an impressive group including fellow elimination winner D’Orsay as well as Bee A Magician. A talented yet sometimes erratic young lady, D’Orsay bested Bee A Magician by a half-length in 1:52 1/5 last week and has a 1:51 4/5 lifetime mark. The latter was herself a perfect 17-for-17 last year while winning the prestigious Hambletonian Oaks and setting an even more spectacular 1:51 career best time.

The Armbro Flight is slated as race five on a 14-race star-filled card. Post time is set at 6:45 PM.

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