Pooker gunning for a payday

Ryan
Ryan Cooke
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Big money on the line Thursday night at Truro Raceway

BIBLE HILL – It was a quiet day at Truro Raceway on Wednesday afternoon as most horses and trainers hid out inside their stables or took a day off from the beaming sun and blistering heat.

Bernard (Pooker) McCallum jogs a horse around the track on Wednesday afternoon at Truro Raceway. The track was quiet the day after the first big night of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week on Tuesday, which saw thousands handed out in purse money. McCallum will be going in both major races tonight with the odds in his favour.

 

“It’s a scorcher out there today, eh?” was the most commonly uttered phrase from barn to barn, where the familiar faces of Truro Raceway sought shelter from the heat in front of fans and deep in the shade.

Out on the track, however, Bernard McCallum spent the afternoon jogging horses. McCallum’s worn his backside into the saddle over a lifetime spent at the track, with more than 1,500 career wins to show for it. On Thursday night, he’ll get the chance to shoot for a couple more.

“I’m not nervous or anything,” McCallum said as he led a young colt back into the stables. “I’ve been doing this too long for that.”

McCallum will be going in the two biggest races of the night, the Atlantic Sires Stakes draws for two-year-old pacing colts. Being the odds-on favourite at 5-2 for Race 7, and sitting at 3-1 for Race 9, the man they call Pooker has a shot at walking away with more than $20,000 in winnings tonight.

“I try to just treat it like any other race,” McCallum said. “Obviously it’s nice to be taking part in the bigger races, and the money is nice, but when the time comes, anything can happen.”

Money is something that’s held back a lot of racers around the raceway, as McCallum points out his stable is now full of young colts, but a pair of horses have given him the chance to take part in some big races lately.

McCallum trained and drove Gotta Move to a 2:01.3 third-place finish last week in another Atlantic Sires Stakes race, which carried a purse of $13,600. On the same card, he rode Putnam’s Legacy in 2:01.4 to the winner’s circle for another $13,600 purse.

McCallum will take the same two horses into tonight’s heats.

“I’d say I’m really comfortable with the two. I’ve been training and driving them here for a while,” he said. “The owners have been great, they just hand the horses over and say ‘Do what you have to do.’”

McCallum will keep the same patient strategy as last week with the horses.

“I don’t like to leave too much with the horses,” he said. “I like to sit back a bit and wait to make my move.”

You can watch McCallum attempt to make his moves tonight, alongside a full card of action getting underway 6:30 p.m. at Truro Raceway.

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