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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA — Adam Twelve, named after a television police drama and co-owned by driver Yannick Gingras, has been capturing plenty of wins since arriving at MGM Yonkers Raceway in November. The 4-year-old male pacer, who raced previously in Indiana, has posted six victories in eight starts at the Hilltop, with his two setbacks being second-place finishes.

“He’s been a nice surprise,” said Gingras, who owns Adam Twelve with Ben Mondello and FAC Racing. “He fit a few classes where we thought he could do some good, figured he could be competitive. He’s been all that and more. He’s got all the qualities to be a nice horse. Hopefully, he’ll be a nice horse for a long time.”

The ownership group purchased Adam Twelve in an auction near the end of October. The gelding has worked his way up the conditions ladder at Yonkers and on Wednesday will race in the $32,000 Open for 3- to 6-year-olds. Adam Twelve, trained by Per Engblom, will leave from post one in a field of five and is the 9-5 morning-line favorite.

“It’s a big step up,” Gingras said. “It’s a short field, which helps, but it’s going to get tougher. It’s a good class and they go with it almost every week at Yonkers. If we can race him consistently in that class, that would be perfect to me. If he’s just that, I’d be really happy.”

Adam Twelve is a son of Luck Be Withyou-Mandy’s Mattjesty. He was purchased under the name Ponda Puff for $9,000 by trainer Randy Hatton and Patti and Bill Gira’s Oldfield Farm at the 2021 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. Bill is a retired Michigan State Police trooper, which inspired the name change, a nod to the show Adam-12, which aired from 1968-1975.

In 2022, Adam Twelve won the Hoosier Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. At 3, he won four races at Harrah’s Hoosier Park and finished third in the consolation final of the Indiana Sire Stakes series.

“He’s a nice horse; he likes his work,” Hatton said. “They were talking about racing him at Yonkers, and I told them he’ll own that track. He loves a small track. I trained him at home on a quarter-of-a-mile track. He loved it. He would pace around a barrel. He’s definitely a horse for the track. I watch him every time he’s in.”

For his career, Adam Twelve has hit the board in 24 of 35 races, winning 11 and earning $150,337.

Since arriving at Yonkers, he has been no worse than second at the half-mile point in any of his eight races. Six times, he’s been in front.

“He’s got crazy gate speed; he can leave with the car,” Gingras said. “Obviously at Yonkers, that’s a big advantage. He’s good to drive. He’s raced on the front most of the time since we’ve had him, but the two times he raced out of a hole, he was better. He jogged both times out of the two hole. It’s half-mile racing, so the front is where he’s been most, but he’s showed he can race out of a hole.”

Said Hatton, “If you can get off the gate up there (at Yonkers) you’re going to make plenty of money. He can leave, he can get home, he can take some air. I know they really haven’t had to do it yet, but this horse racing off a helmet can explode.”

Given the horse’s success at Yonkers, is it possible Adam Twelve could develop further into a Borgata Pacing Series hopeful?

“If in the next six weeks he shows us that he’s Borgata material, that would be a home run, but I don’t expect it,” Gingras said. “He’s going to have to show me a lot for us to put him in there. I just think it’s a tough ask. It’s hard for a 4-year-old to go and compete with those horses. They’re more seasoned. They’re just better, stronger horses.

“Plus, at some point, he’s going to need a break. He’s been racing since the beginning of last summer. We’ll let him do his thing right now, but once he shows that he’s not quite as sharp, we’ll turn him out and give him a nice break. We all want to have the horse for years, not just a few months.”

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