Few horsemen at Los Alamitos are as outspoken as Paul Blumenfeld.
The 31-year-old trainer has been at or near the top of the standings at Los Alamitos for the last few years, and this year his top pacer, Heavy Tipper, has given him a lot to talk about.
The 4-year-old gelding, who has earned more than $200,000, had a tremendous season at Sacramento and has carried that form into the fall. He is one of the favorites in today's $100,000 American Pacing Classic, the top race for older pacers in California.
Heavy Tipper was sixth in the first leg of qualifying for the American Pacing Classic on Sept. 12, but in the second leg, on Sept. 19, Blumenfeld changed the horse's racing sulky and watched him wear down the overwhelming favorite, Odds Against, in the final yards and win by a neck. Those two will be heavy favorites in today's final.
"(Last week) was definitely his best race of the year," Blumenfeld said. "He looked Odds Against in the eye and showed he had guts."
The time of 1:52 equaled Heavy Tipper's best time for a mile and tied the second-fastest mile in Los Alamitos history. It was only three-fifths of a second off the track record set by TK's Skipper in the 1990 American Pacing Classic.
Heavy Tipper's victory surprised owner James Coats of Citrus Heights, who paid $2,500 for him at a 1989 yearling sale and has watched the gelding earn more than $214,000 in a 49-race career.
The eight-horse field for the Pacing Classic, from the rail, includes One Bad Boy with driver Steve Warrington; Nuclear Siren, Marc Aubin; Clancy, Joe Anderson; El Camino Real, Robert Sleeth; Odds Against, Bill O'Donell; TK's Skipper, Ross Croghan; Kenwood Don, Ed Hensley, and Heavy Tipper, Rick Kuebler.