This is a fun story. COOLER MIKE has been in the mainstream sports and racing papers this year because of his personable owners/breeders, Mike and Nick Nosowenko and the fact that this blue-collar Ontario-bred and sired gelding is an honest racehorse who loves what he does.
Fans first got a good look at Cooler Mike (named for the senior Nosowenko’s cooler that he brings to the track for post race celebrations) at the Queen’s Plate last year. He finished a remarkable third at 46 to 1 behind eventual Horse of the Year Wonder Gadot. In his next start he again was third to Wonder Gadot, in the deep slop at Fort Erie for the Prince of Wales Stakes and the tough guy was really ridden hard that day.
He was not seen again until April of this year and had troubled trips galore, a near miss in the Steady Growth Stakes and then finally, his first stakes score in the 12 furlong Halton Stakes on grass in August. Since then he has been a bear, winning the Bunty Lawless Stakes on turf Oct. 20 and then landing third in the open, Grade 2 Autumn Stakes on Tapeta.
Saturday Nov 30, the celebrations continued.
“We’re going to go party with the cooler!” said Nick as he left the winner’s circle with his dad following Cooler Mike’s win in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes.
His latest conquest was the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta stakes race for Ontario-sired horses three years old and up.
Luis Contreras, who was aboard for Cooler Mike’s OLG Halton and Bunty Lawless turf stakes victories earlier this season, worked out another perfect trip today.
“You always have to give this horse a target, just get him back right away from the first jump. He is kind of aggressive,” said the winning reinsman. “He was great today. I got a perfect trip and when I asked him to go at the quarter pole, he just gave me everything.
“As long as you make him relax early, he always gives you a big finish.”
Eskiminzin was the runaway leader, posting fractions of :24.57, :48.05 and 1:13.11, before blowing the final turn. That left the door wide open for Cooler Mike, who was stalking back in third outside of Magical Man.
Cooler Mike forged ahead with the lead at the top of the stretch with Thor’s Rocket rallying wide from behind to finish second just ahead of show photo finishers Royal Laser and Magical Man. Cooler Mike prevailed by a measured length in 1:44.02.
Dun Drum and Split My Pants followed five lengths back in fifth and sixth, with Eskiminzin eased up and finishing a distant seventh.
The consistent son of Giant Gizmo and Executive Affair now sports a career record reading 6-4-5 from 20 starts and is approaching the half-million mark in earnings, just over $483,000.
“He’s on fire right now,” said Nick, trainer and co-owner of the homebred with his father, who started the tradition of sharing a cooler with his staff after the races many years ago. “We were very concerned about the weight. He had to give nine pounds and we got a little worried – 126 pounds – but he motored through them and kept going and he wasn’t going to let them go by.”
The story of Cooler Mike going to auction as a yearling has been well documented. He was ‘bought’ at the sale, just getting one bid past the reserve the family put on the chestnut, but then the bidder did not want to sign the sales ticket. So they took the gelding back.
Cooler Mike talking it up! pic.twitter.com/q6GiNbEU19
— Nick Nosowenko (@NNosowenko) November 28, 2019
MORE FROM SATURDAY:
That first win as an owner is a special one.
JON GALVANO of Toronto celebrated his first win on Saturday at Woodbine with his 2-year-old bay colt SATIVA, who won for $15,000 maiden claiming in his second career start. (The feature photo on this post is an image of Sativa by John Loper).
Sativa, a son of Milwaukee Brew – Bold Peaks by Pyramid Peak, was bred by Andy Stronach and bought back from the CTHS Ontario yearling sale in 2018 for $7,500.
The colt raced once for trainer Martin Hinckson in a key $40,000 maiden claimer and was 11th beaten 24 3/4 lengths. In his first race for trainer Norm McKnight the colt drew off to win with blinkers removed.
Galvano also acquired another Milwaukee Brew juvenile from Stronach, Indica. Both Sativa and Indica are strains of marijuana.
Norm McKnight won three more races on Saturday’s 11-race card and boosted his lead 92-89 over Mark Casse’s team which won with Moonlight Rain on the card for Gabe Grossberg.
ROBUSTO was a longshot winner of race 4, a $14,000 claiming race, was an interesting winner as the 5-year-old had not won since a maiden allowance in 2017 at Gulfstream. The $260,000 yearling and well bred son of Bernardini had 11 starts this year in a variety of events and on Saturday he had a new trainer in Renaldo Holder and dropped in class for the win.
C S Dowson farms and trainer Richie Morden had a nice win again with SILENT TANGO, a filly they claimed from Stronach Stables last November for $20,000. The Silent Name gal is Kentucky bred and a 4-year-old who has won 3 of 6 races this year. Saturday she won a nine-furlong allowance race at 10 to under Justin Stein. She has earned over $81,000 this year.
The last race of the day was one of the most logical results of the day as the McKnight trainee Broadway Bonnie beat front running Copper Fox from the Martin Drexler barn. And both gals were claimed for $23,500 by trainer Tim Rycroft of Alberta.