Baquaduck taking a step up on Oregon Championship Day for trainer Maelfeyt
Bruno Maelfeyt has pretty much done it all at Portland Meadows. For nearly fifteen years, he was a top jockey in the Northwest, winning 1,116 times and racking up purse earnings over $3,400,000 million dollars in the process. He scored his first victory at Portland Meadows aboard a horse named Rebecca back in 1984 and he continued to win hundreds of races through the eighties and into the nineties, including numerous stakes events at Portland Meadows and elsewhere in the Northwest. He hung up his tack in 1997 and decided it was time for a change. He worked as a racing official, a pari-mutuel clerk and then as an assistant for his father, trainer Leo Maelfeyt. Then in 2000, he decided to branch out on his own and took out his trainer’s license.
He scored his first victory as a trainer with K.O. Boots on December 8th of 2000, when that horse scored a win at Portland Meadows. Maelfeyt has tabbed seventy eight victories in the twelve years he’s had his trainer’s license, with Portland Meadows being his base of operation.
However a couple of years ago, he thought he’d try something new and got into the breeding game.
“I was given this mare Aquaduck a few years ago,” said Maelfeyt. “I decided to give breeding a try and bred her to Baquero in 2008.”
Nearly a year later, on May 9, 2009, Baquaduck came into the world. A dark bay filly bred here in the state of Oregon, Baquaduck’s career took a while to get underway as she didn’t race as a two year old and Maelfeyt waited until July 18, 2012 to make her debut, a maiden special weight event that saw her finish fourth.
“She’s a little bit temperamental,” he said. “She needed some time to figure out this game, but she learned pretty fast.”
Indeed she did. After a significant class drop for her second start, Baquaduck blitzed a field of $3,200 maiden claimers, going right to the front and drawing off to win by thirteen lengths. The win was Maelfeyt’s first career score as a breeder.
She’s had a pair of seconds and another win since then and has proven herself consistent and worthy of a try against stakes quality runners. Maelfeyt has nominated Baquaduck for the $12,500 Oregon Hers Stakes on Oregon Championship Day presented by Spirit Mountain Casino on November 18th.
“I’ve been trying to keep her in moderate company so far,” said Maelfeyt. “I didn’t want to throw her to the wolves right away and get her discouraged. But she’s been pretty consistent and since she’s an Oregon bred, we figured we may as well give her a try.”
The Oregon Hers Stakes is at one mile and even though Baquaduck is yet to race further than six furlongs, he’s banking on her ability to go two turns.
“She trains like a route horse,” said Maelfeyt. “I think she should be pretty close up going longer as she has natural speed. It just depends how the pace sets up for her and we’ll find out for sure if she can go the mile.”
Baquaduck will have to turn the tables on a couple of rivals in the Oregon Hers as she’s been beaten by Stopin Memo and Alltheway Heather before. But with the Hers only being her seventh career start, she’s certainly bound to keep improving.
Oregon Championship Day presented by Spirit Mountain Casino will be run on Sunday November 18th at Portland Meadows with a first post time of 1pm (Pacific). Entries will be taken on Thursday November 15th.