Hastings Racecourse: Fan favourite Ace Deuce seems happy to keep racing

Hastings Racecourse: Weekly horse racing picks

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Infinite Patience and Ace Deuce reside in the same barn at Hastings Racecourse under the care of trainer Barbara Heads. That’s about all they have in common. Infinite Patience, who has won 18 of her 24 starts for earnings of $727,600, is a mortal cinch to be voted into the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame when she becomes eligible. Ace Deuce, a 12-year-old California-bred gelding is a bottom-level claimer with 15 wins from 87 starts for earnings of $219,495. One would think Infinite Patience would get preferential treatment from Heads.

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“Nope,” said Heads. “They get treated the same. Because Ace Deuce is older, he probably gets a bit more attention. We train them differently, but you want to give them the best chance you can, whether they are cheap horses or stakes horses. Any kind of therapeutic treatment they need, they all get it.”

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Ace Deuce began his career in California where he took a while to win his first race, finally breaking through in a $20,000 maiden claimer on turf at Golden Gate Fields in 2016. He came right back to win a $40,000 starter, and completed the hattrick in a $20,000 conditioned claiming race. He found open company beyond his means and ended up dropping in class before he won a $4,000 claimer on the main track at Golden Gate in January of 2017. He made his way to Hastings after being claimed for $6,250 by Peter Redekop, and with Phil Hall as his trainer he won twice in seven starts. Heads claimed him for $4,000 out of his second win at Hastings on Sept. 1, 2017, and she has had him ever since.

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“I don’t claim horses very often, but something about him caught my eye,” she said. “I was looking for a horse and I asked Peter if it was OK if I claimed him. He said yes and I’ve had him ever since.”

Because of his easy-going nature, Ace Deuce became the barn pet.

“He is just so easy going and great to be around,” said Heads. “Whenever we hire somebody new, we use Ace Deuce to teach them the ropes. Nothing bothers him and he’s been through it all so many times.”

Heather Praill was one of Ace Deuce’s trainees. Heather is the daughter of Canuck Place CEO Denise Praill.

“Deuce has been a big fan favourite for several years, and when he walks on the track you can tell he loves his work,” said Denise, who is a director on the board of the Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association. “My daughter witnessed the incredible care and attention to the health and well-being of all the barn’s horses, including Ace Deuce.”

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Heads wanted to retire the classy son of Lewis Michael this year, but Ace Deuce had other ideas.

“He was miserable,” said Heads. “We thought he would make a great pony, but he hated it. When I put the racing tack back on him, he went back to being his old happy self.”

If all is well, Ace Deuce will likely race as a 13-year-old. Because of local rules, he would have had to retire if he had not won a race this year. His front-running win going 1-1/16 miles in a $4,000 conditioned claimer Aug. 11 allows him to come back in 2024 to do what he loves best.


RACE 2: Anzac Bay

RACE 3: Horatio

RACE 4: Penalty to Rangers

RACE 5: Star Finality

RACE 6: Space

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