V For Vic

Greg Watson will send Fast Man Vic out in the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

Quarter Racing Journal

Greg Watson and his wife's horse, Fast Man Vic. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Greg Watson laughingly calls Fast Man Vic “the Canadian Avenger” and will send out the 5-year-old Mighty Invictus gelding in Saturday’s $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

Racing in the name of Greg and Sue Watson’s Full Circle Racing at Bethany, Ontario, Fast Man Vic is a career earner of $199,302 with a record of 26-6(2)-5(2)-5(2). “Vic” is winless in five starts this year, but has finished second twice this season, including in the June 18 Picov Maturity (R) at Ajax Downs near Ontario, and third in the September 3 Ajax Championship Challenge. The dark-bay gelding comes into the Challenge Championship from an off-the-board finish in the September 18 All Canadian Classic Maturity (R).

“Vic’s quite a handful sometimes,” Watson said. “He’s full of himself, pretty high on himself. He’s a bit of a clown. The only thing is, he’s got to break (from the gate) and there’s been a couple of times at Ajax when he didn’t break like he should. But he loves the distance (in the Challenge Championship) – he loves 440, so if he breaks, he’ll be out in front.”

Bred by Walter R. “Dick” Harrison of Battle Creek, Michigan, Fast Man Vic is one of seven stakes winners and the earners of more than $2.88 million by his sire. A 15-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry, Mighty Invictus is a Grade 1-winning earner of $303,137 that ran in DM Shicago’s All American Futurity (G1). Fast Man Vic is one of six stakes winners, three other winners and the earners of more than $888,000 out of the stakes-winning Heza Fast Man mare Precious Debutante, and is a half-brother to the six-figure earners Ida Snow Man ($163,879, by This Snow Is Royal) and Fearles Fred ($269,579, by Fredricksburg).

The Watsons acquired Fast Man Vic in February 2016.

“I’ve known Dick Harrison a long time,” Watson said. “He and his wife, Lois, are very nice people. In fact, I trained one of Vic’s brothers, Gogo Jangles, for them this summer and he won a couple of races in Canada. But my wife and I bought Vic through Penny and Roy Moore, who were training for Dick in Florida. They had won three in a row with him there. Penny approached me, said she and Roy had this really nice horse of Dick’s that we could take back to Ontario and beat anything that Tom Dunlap’s got. So I thought, well, yeah! Tom’s a very good friend of mine. He’s The Guy up there, a great trainer, a great friend. So my wife and I went and looked at the horse, and Sue fell in love with him. And that was it – we bought him and took him home.”

At that point, Fast Man Vic had already earned about $100,000. In his first start for the Watsons, the gelding finished third by three parts of a side to eventual world champion Jessies First Down in the Miami Dade County Stakes at Hialeah Park. Christian Esqueda had ridden Fast Man Vic in the three consecutive wins and the Miami Dade stakes, and will be on him in Saturday’s Challenge Championship.

In 2016, Fast Man Vic won the Ajax Championship Challenge with Shanley Jackson aboard.

“If the Challenge Championships hadn’t been at Los Alamitos and it wasn’t so far and costly to take him to California, we’d have taken him there to run,” Watson said. “He ran third this year and the two horses that beat him didn’t want to come, so when we had the opportunity, we said we’re going to Prairie Meadows. It’s a great place to run, it’s fair, they’re fussy about the place, they keep a lid on the drugs – it’s the way things are supposed to be.”

The Watsons raise American Quarter Horses and Black Angus cattle on their 120-acre farm at Bethany, Ontario. They have an indoor arena, a half-mile training track and the old starting gate from Ajax Downs that Greg cut in half for use in training.

“We’re really proud of Vic and it’s great to bring him down here,” he said. “But I’ve got to tell you, this is really my wife’s horse. We’ve had a lot of horses that have run really well in Canada, like Rockish ($304,589), who we love. Rockish was bred in Arizona by our friends Ralph and Carrie Fales, and he’s retired now. Rockish is my horse. Vic is Sue’s horse.”

Greg offered a final thought:

“We like the Challenge, we like being part of AQHA,” he said. “I like what Janet VanBebber is doing, I believe in hair testing, I believe in no drugs. Let’s line ’em up, let ’em run clean and see what happens. But Sue and I really love Malynda Reed at AQHA. She’s just the best. Malynda’s the key to the Challenge. A lot of people want to deal with the Challenge program because of her. So I want to thank Malynda Reed. She’s amazing. We love her in Canada. Malynda’s the one who invited Sue and I to Prairie Meadows, and she’s the reason we’re here.”

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.