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Another celebration for Cooler Mike and company
Credit: Michael Burns Photo

Another celebration for Cooler Mike and company

TORONTO, ON – Cooler Mike gave the father-son team of Mike and Nick Nosowenko something to celebrate during their post-race tradition after the four-year-old chestnut gelding won the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes on Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack.

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“We’re going to go party with the cooler!” said Nick as he left the winner’s circle with his dad following Cooler Mike’s third stakes victory this year.

His latest conquest was the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta stakes race for Ontario-sired horses three years old and up.

Luis Contreras, who was aboard for Cooler Mike’s OLG Halton and Bunty Lawless turf stakes victories earlier this season, worked out another perfect trip today.

“You always have to give this horse a target, just get him back right away from the first jump. He is kind of aggressive,” said the winning reinsman. “He was great today. I got a perfect trip and when I asked him to go at the quarter pole, he just gave me everything.

“As long as you make him relax early, he always gives you a big finish.”

Eskiminzin was the runaway leader, posting fractions of :24.57, :48.05 and 1:13.11, before blowing the final turn. That left the door wide open for Cooler Mike, who was stalking back in third outside of Magical Man.

Cooler Mike forged ahead with the lead at the top of the stretch with Thor’s Rocket rallying wide from behind to finish second just ahead of show photo finishers Royal Laser and Magical Man. Cooler Mike prevailed by a measured length in 1:44.02.

Dun Drum and Split My Pants followed five lengths back in fifth and sixth, with Eskiminzin eased up and finishing a distant seventh.

After hitting the board in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes last time out on November 3, Cooler Mike was sent postward as the 6-5 favourite and returned $4.70 to win.

The consistent son of Giant Gizmo and Executive Affair now sports a career record reading 6-4-5 from 20 starts and is approaching the half-million mark in earnings.

“He’s on fire right now,” said Nick, trainer and co-owner of the homebred with his father, who started the tradition of sharing a cooler with his staff after the races many years ago. “We were very concerned about the weight. He had to give nine pounds and we got a little worried – 126 pounds – but he motored through them and kept going and he wasn’t going to let them go by.”

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