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Sheppard hopes Ever So Lucky will be ever so good this spring
Laughing at Lucky
EVER SO LUCKY SEEMS to be smiling after being washed following a workout at the Springdale Race Course last month. The 3-year-old went from Kentucky Derby future odds of 250-to-1 last year to 25-to-1 this winter after a win and a second in his lone two starts as a 2-year-old, both coming over the dirt at Churchill Downs. - photo by C-I photo by Tom Didato
Each time Jonathan Sheppard sent out Ever So Lucky in the company of a training partner last summer, the precocious 2-year-old would dig in and would refuse to be beaten, even if was nothing more than a simple work around the track at the Hall of Fame trainer’s farm in Pennsylvania.After taking this sight in on a regular basis, Sheppard thought that maybe he just might have something special in the Indian Charlie colt, which was at $600,000, the sales topper at Fasig-Tipton’s Mid-Atlantic Selected 2-year-olds in training sales at Timonium, Md., last spring.After breaking his maiden in his debut and running second in his final start of an abbreviated 2-year-old campaign last November, Ever So Lucky will begin what Sheppard and Augustin Stable owner George Strawbridge hope will be the first step to the Kentucky Derby with a start in Saturday’s $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (Gr. II) at Florida’s Gulfstream Park.As the lone trainer in the National Steeplechase Association ranks to have saddled more than 1,000 winners over jumps, the part-time Camden resident has had runners and jumpers which have earned more than $20 million over his illustrious career, now in its fifth decade. The native of Ashwell, England, has also saddled a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners on the flat in mares Forever Together and Informed Decision, both of which earned Eclipse Awards in 2008 and 2009, respectively.One thing which the NSA’s 24-time leading trainer champion has yet to do is to lead a horse into the paddock at Churchill Downs to run in the Kentucky Derby.