Their babies are now ‘Men,’ and longtime friends Catheline Pelletier and Chantal Gravel couldn’t be prouder.
“We would have been happy just to win a regional (circuit) race with them. We never really had good horses in our life. Our bar wasn’t high. To win two Quebec Series finals…that was extraordinary,” said Pelletier, 49,, recalling the victories earlier this month at Hippodrome 3R of their homebred two-year-old trotter Wildwild Men and his three-year-old brother Seeyou Men.
Wildwild Men not only won the $55,000 final, he shaved more than two seconds off the track record for two-year-old trotters with a mile in 1:58.2, not far off the Canadian half-mile record of 1:57.4 set at Flamboro Downs in 2010 by Daylon Magician.
The Muscle Mass gelding will make his first start since that outing in a $20,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots semi-final at Mohawk on Thursday.
“I don’t know if he’s just good on a half-mile track, but he’s been getting better every start. I hope he can keep peaking for the next two. Regardless, he’s had a good season,” said regular driver Robert Shepherd.
If Wildwild Men advances to the Grassroots final at Mohawk on Sept. 26, expect a busload of fans from Quebec trackside.
“It’s like he’s become everyone’s horse. Our family and friends want to be there. The Darveau family wants to encourage Isabelle (Darveau, the trainer) and Robert (her boyfriend). We’re just two girls from Trois-Rivieres, friends for 35 years, who didn’t expect any of this. We cried when he won his first race (an $18,000 Grassroots event at Clinton in July). That’s what we do — they’re our babies. It’s been an emotional ride that we’re trying to live to the fullest,” said Pelletier, who worked for years for several Quebec trainers and breeding farms before changing careers and becoming a healthcare worker, as did Gravel.
The only cloud on their season is the fact Seeyouinthecircle, dam of their two stakes winners, won’t be producing any more offspring. The Angus Hall mare died foaling at the veterinary hospital in St. Hyacinthe last year. Wildwild Men and Seeyou Men were her only live foals.
(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)