Jason and Doug Allen know that patience can be the key to success with a top trotter.
The brothers and their parents Ron and Sandy Allen co-owned Fool’s Goal, the triple-millionaire who finally hit his best stride at age seven. The family is hoping to strike gold a little sooner this time with Top Billing in the $58,650 Spring Survivor Trot final on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Top Billing is eligible to the $1.5 million Hambletonian on Saturday, August 4.
The colt heads a strong Julie Miller stable entry rated at 4-5 on the morning line in the second race. He will start from post five with driver David Miller, while his stable mate Trouble drew post six with Julie’s husband, Andy, driving. Unraced at two, the three-year-old son of Andover Hall is two-for-two lifetime, winning both starts in 1:55.2.
Top Billing was a $22,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Jason, 32, and Doug, 30. They are the fourth generation to work in the family business, Allen’s Oil and Propane in Vincentown and Hammonton, NJ.
“He happened to have a good yearling page and turned out to be a good looker,” Doug Allen recalled. “He could also trot in the field and when we went to the sale we were surprised he didn’t go for $100,000 or more. He had just gotten hurt before the sale. He had an injury to his eye. He had a cut and stitches. Maybe people were concerned it might have been an issue down the road. He stood correct, was average in size, and he was in our price range. I’m kind fond of Andover Halls.”
Top Billing was unraced as a two-year-old mainly due to health issues.
“He was sick most of last summer and had a lot of allergy problems last year,” he continued. “He was training down nicely until we sent him to Lexington and he didn’t ship well, so it was best to just shut him down. His first win (on March 30) surprised us a bit, but his second win last week was impressive. Hopefully, he can keep on going. Andy and Julie Miller have done a phenomenal job with him.”
The Allens, along with Bruce McElven, co-owned world champion Fool’s Goal.
After struggling to stay on stride in the early years of his career, Fool’s Goal had a break-out $1 million season at age seven in 2002. The son of Armbro Goal was named the sport’s top older male trotter and won the $1 million Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands in 1:51.3.
“It seems like it’s been a while since Fool’s Goal was around,” said Allen. “He’s 17 now and living at Marvin Maker’s farm. Dad was the one who really got us into racing. My brother and I started going to the sales. We had that one good one in Fool’s Goal, and it’s just so hard to find another one like him.”
Fool’s Goal won back-to-back Breeders Crowns for Hall of Fame trainer Jim Doherty and driver Jack Moiseyev.
“The first Breeders Crown in 2002 at the Meadowlands was a highlight for me,” noted Allen. “Of course, Fool’s Goal made all those breaks and hardly made any money in his first few years of racing. It was so hard to figure out what was going on with him, and we didn’t know what to do. It was a mental thing with him, trying to build his confidence and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. He had his good days and bad ones. Nevertheless, it was a great ride. There’s nothing like going to the track and watching a horse like him storming down the stretch.”
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