“That was the best win of my life. He could have gone a whole lot quicker had he not been forced to wear mud fenders and an apron. I would say that time would be the fastest on a sticky track anywhere in the world.”
Those were the emphatic words from John McDermott, the trainer of Hurrikane Emperor, who on Saturday (July) won the $250,000 Graduate Series Final for the 4-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.
Speaking to Egmont Park Stud from his New York stables, McDermott, was staggered by Hurrikane Emperor’s comeback victory.
“The was a phenomenal win considering what he’s been through, because we had to shut him down a year ago. He got too sick and has had to climb a mountain to get back to where he is now.
“The pandemic (Covid19) didn’t help much either. Actually, it’s been torture. I honestly believe this fella could have gone up to two seconds quicker if we had a dry track, I definitely think he’s capable of bettering the world mark of 1:46.1,” McDermott said.
Hurrikane Emperor notched up his 13th career win ($528,000) thanks to a near perfect Mark Macdonald drive.
The Hurrikane Kingcole – Hurrikane Schumma (Somebeachsomewhere) entire, who was last year’s New Jersey Horse-of-the-Year, sat second over behind a speed duel before Macdonald sent him to the lead in the lane.
They then powered away to win easily in a personal best 1:47 even. It beat his lifetime mark of 1:48.1 set two starts ago at Tioga Raceway. Hurrikane Emperor covered his first quarter (400m) 26.0, then 52.3, and 1:20.3.
“This is just really a blessing. He is so special to us. Owning his Daddy, losing his Daddy last year, he’s family. He’s the greatest creature in the world to me. It’s funny, as a two-and three-year-old he didn’t remind me of his father, because he was really nondescript and didn’t have much of a personality.
“In the last year, he’s grown into such a clown that he’s so much like his Dad off the track. On the track, he’s nice and manageable.
“I really thought he was going to be awesome tonight and Mark gave him the best drive in the world. It worked out beautifully,” McDermott said.
He said the victory was an amazing feat considering the late Hurrikane Kingcole only left five foals in North America, and four of them have won Sires Stakes races in New Jersey.
“He’s got to be the greatest sire in the world. All of his progeny have his amazing turn of speed. This fella’s sister, Hurrikane Empress, who won more than $200,000, is now in foal to Huntsville.
“She already has a Sweet Lou weanling filly at foot. She is absolutely gorgeous. I just wish there were more Hurrikane Kingcoles around up here, but at least Empress will carry his breed on. I’m so pleased he’s doing well ‘Down Under, but that was always going to happen wasn’t it? You’ve got some pretty smart breeders down your way,” McDermott said.
He said the best thing he ever did was visit Egmont Park last year and visit his ole pal, Hurrikane King Cole.
“If I hadn’t got down there to see him one final time before he died (October) I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.
“Peter & Leean (Bell), and Kevin & Kay (Seymour) absolutely loved him like he was their child. They treated him like a King.
“I arrived with tears in my eyes and left with tears in my eyes. That’s how much he meant to me. It was so satisfying to leave Egmont Farm knowing that he was well cared for and loved so much.
“That heartened me to know he experienced the very best care before he suddenly passed away. There’s hardly a day go by when I don’t think of him.
“He was a freak on the racetrack. Like this one (Emperor) he can go through the gears. It’s like driving a Cadillac, Mark said.
“In fact, he said he was the fastest horse he’s ever driven. That’s a huge statement. You can blame Hurrikane Kingcole for that,” he added.
Saturday’s 2020 Graduate Final at the Meadowlands can be viewed here.