Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Great people and horses in the Hawkeye State.
By Martha Claussen and John Hernandez | August 17, 2016
Quarter Racing Journal
|The Thomas Scheckel-owned Streakin PR.
PHOTO: Coady Photography
Iowa Horseman Thomas Scheckel on the Fast Track to Success
By Martha Claussen
Live Quarter Horse racing returns to Prairie Meadows on Saturday, August 20 through October 15. The Altoona, Iowa racetrack will run Friday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1 p.m.
One horseman to watch this meet is 2015 leading owner Thomas Scheckel. A relative newcomer to racing, Scheckel is no stranger to the American Quarter Horse Association's other disciplines. A longtime exhibitor and breeder of halter horses, the Bellevue, Iowa, resident owned Kids Classic Style, a nationally respected champion and sire, whose offspring continued his legacy in the show ring.
His quality care of his halter horses carried over to the racehorses he now owns, which include Streakin PR, winner of last year's $213,557 Valley Junction Futurity at Prairie Meadows and There Goes My Wallet, who looks to be padding the wallet of the Iowa horseman this year.
"You have to feed them and treat them well," acknowledges Scheckel. "I have 20 horses racing this fall at Prairie Meadows, Canterbury and Ruidoso. It's a tough business as some may never even break their maiden. But it sure is fun when you win!"
Scheckel will be on hand for the opening weekend races with several runners competing, including There Goes My Wallet, who is entered in Saturday's trials for the Iowa Double Gold Derby. He enjoys sharing the racetrack experience with his wife, Pat, and children, Josh, Jake and daughter, Casey. As many as nine grandchildren will also be cheering on the Scheckel runners.
"We've got two sets of twins, so they add up kind of fast when you have two at a time," he said.
Chad Keller, Prairie Meadows Quarter Horse Racing Secretary, commends Scheckel for his intrepid foray into racing.
"What’s great about his success is that he is relatively new to the racing industry within the last 2-3 years, with Quarter Horses and also some Thoroughbreds," said Keller. "So for someone to jump right in and have tremendous success is to be commended and recognized for sure."
In addition to Keller, Scheckel is also respected by Iowa owner and breeder Tom Lepic, whose stars have included champion race mare Spit Curl Diva and his homebred stakes winner The Fiscal Cliff.
"Tom got interested when Prairie Meadows hosted the Bank of America Challenge in 2014," said Lepic. "He wanted to see what it was all about and fell in love with the sport. Tom went directly to the Heritage Place Sale and has some very good horses."
Scheckel was the founder and owner of Scheckel Construction, Inc. in Bellevue, and recently retired from over 40 years in the road construction business. Lepic knew Scheckel was an accomplished businessman and asked him if he would consider being a director of the Iowa Quarter Horse Association.
"He was elected to our board and we are very fortunate to have him," added Lepic. "Tom brings fresh ideas, and loves his horses and Iowa racing."
|Prairie Meadows opens
Saturday with a big race.
Full Field Set To Contest Keokuk
By John Hernandez
Saturday’s opening-day stakes at Prairie Meadows, the 26th running of the $45,000 Keokuk Stakes at 400 yards, will feature an overflow field of 12 runners.
This year’s race, scheduled as the 10th and final on a Saturday program that kicks off at 1 PM Central, includes defending champion Sudden Separation, who used her 2015 Keokuk conquest as the springboard to a scintillating victory in the 2015 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Lone Star Park last November.
The field also includes another runner who is well-accomplished over the Prairie Meadows strip in AJs High, the Oklahoma-bred who won last year’s Altoona Derby here and has yet to taste defeat in four outings so far this year.
On the other hand, Sudden Separation, also an Oklahoma-bred, is winless this year in five starts at Remington Park and Canterbury Park.
Trainer Larry Sharp, who conditions Sudden Separation for owner Duane Murphy, said he was hopeful that this year’s Keokuk Stakes would begin a reversal of fortunes for his distaffer.
“It’s not because she hasn’t been trying,” noted the affable Sharp. “But she runs so hard on her hind end that she he had trouble getting a hold of the surface in Oklahoma and Minnesota.”
“Still, she managed to finish second in three of her races at those tracks,” Sharp added. “She loves the Prairie Meadows surface, so I’m optimistic!”
Sharp wasn’t quite as thrilled after post positions were assigned for the race, as Sudden Separation drew the 10 post.
“I don’t like being that far out,” Sharp said.” I’d rather be down closer to the middle of the track, but that’s the way it goes.”
And AJs High didn’t fare much better, drawing the inside post for the race, which can be a difficult spot to run from with 11 rivals on the outside.
All that said, AJs High and Sudden Separation deserve the utmost respect, but this might be a good spot for an up-and-coming runner like Tempting Valor, who has run improving speed numbers over his last four starts.
Let’s make the Keokuk selections 6-1-10-11 – Tempting Valor on top of AJs High and Sudden Separation, kicking in the other Larry Sharp runner Apollitical Man to complete the superfecta.
Wrangler Racing Ace John Hernandez's Top Four Selections:
#6 Tempting Valor
#1 AJs High
#10 Sudden Separation
#11 Apollitical Man
Wrangler Racing Aces in August
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