It is not often a 10-year-old gelding who was racing in $8,000 claimers two months ago finds himself in a $30,000 final of a late-closing series. But that’s exactly what happened for Del Rio Seelster at Miami Valley Raceway on Friday night (February 2) and the Ontario-sired son of Western Maverick took full advantage of the opportunity.
Claimed in the final preliminary round of the Claim To Fame Series for $12,500 claimers a week ago, Del Rio Seelster was fortunate to draw the No. 1 post position and fortunate to secure the services of U.S. dash champion Aaron Merriman in the sulky. The combination paid big dividends when they moved from fifth position to the head of the class during the third quarter of the race and sprinted through the lane to a 1:52 score. Cambassador (Trace Tetrick) tried valiantly to lead the field from start to finish from the outside post, but had to settle for runner-up honours. Ally Con (Tyler Smith) finished third.
Del Rio Seelster, now owned by Robert Bellamy and Chris Bulak and trained by Ryan Bellamy, has obviously had success throughout his career with 35 triumphs and $266,209 in earnings. In this case, he came very close to paying for himself in just one week. Due to a 25 per cent claiming price premium in the second preliminary leg, he was plucked for $15,600, just $600 shy of what he earned by copping the lucrative championship.
(Miami Valley Raceway)