Only a few hours before the Yonkers Trot, the first leg of harness racing's trotting Triple Crown, there was no noticeable anxiety on the part of one of the favorites, Go Get Lost, and the three men associated with him: owner Wayne Lynch, trainer Art Wirsching and driver John Hogan.
As Lynch sees it, there is no reason to worry. "The horse has paid for himself. He's taken the edge off any anxiety. Now it's just a party."
Go Get Lost finished third in the June 28 classic at Yonkers (N.Y.) Raceway, only a minor setback to the 3-year-old colt now making his way to harness racing's best-known race, the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Aug. 8.
Lynch, an Annandale resident who manages a family real estate investment company in Fairfax, became involved in harness racing 10 years ago. He and some friends picked up several horses and operated as the Tee It Up Stables.
After Tee It Up disbanded, Lynch continued purchasing horses but with new insight.
"The first thing that drives home to you is that it costs as much to feed and train an expensive horse as it does a cheap horse," he said. "And you have a far better chance of getting your money back."
Go Get Lost was a $6,500 yearling purchase of the Car Wen Farms and was trained by the powerful Jan Nordin stable as a 2-year-old, earning $112,080. Due to financial problems, Car Wen sold Go Get Lost at the Meadowlands Sales this January. Lynch and Wirsching teamed to buy him for $100,000. Go Get Lost has already earned another $192,193.
Driven by Hogan, Go Get Lost has two open trot victories at both Rosecroft and Freestate this year. One win at Freestate in 1:57 4/5 set a track mark for 3-year-old trotters.
His biggest score came in the Statue of Liberty at the Meadowlands in June. The only 3-year-old in the field, he defeated older trotters in a lifetime best 1:56.
A regular in Maryland racing the past six years, former Ohioan Wirsching prefers to train trotters over pacers. "The challenge is so much greater. I think patience is what makes a good trotting trainer. They definitely will try your patience."
"It's a big thrill to drive a top 3-year-old," said Hogan, no stranger to top trotters. Hogan, a leading driver in Maryland the past few years, handled Quick Trip, 1984's aged trotting mare of the year.
"It's more pleasurable to drive a good trotter," Hogan said. "You can feel the power in their legs. A good trotter is hard to come by."
"What I like about him is just watching him move," says Lynch. "His feet are moving so fast you can hardly follow him. He's perfect."