When 11-year-old gelding Leaping Plum enters the starting gate Saturday for Fonner Park's eighth race, the $15,000 Grasmick Handicap, an incredible streak will be on the line. Should Leaping Frog win the four-furlong sprint at the Grand Island, Neb. oval, it will mark the eighth consecutive year Leaping Plum has won the Grasmick.
Leaping Plum's record in the Grasmick already constitutes an unofficial record within the annals of Thoroughbred racing. Among those who marvel at Leaping Plum's streak is the horse's trainer, Joe Moss.
"I can't say I'm not amazed," said Moss. "It's great for the horse and it's great for the owners, and it's good for Fonner Park. We're tickled pick and if it ends Saturday, we're just happy with where we're at."
And it would not come as a total shock should Leaping Plum lose Saturday. His opponents in the Grasmick Handicap include Grindrock, a gelding who defeated Leaping Plum last August at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Another obstacle is the fact Leaping Plum's regular rider, Newil Wall, sustained a hairline fracture of his ankle last week. Wall is still hopeful of riding Leaping Plum and was the listed rider when entries were drawn, but Wall's status is still listed as questionable.
Leaping Plum drew post 4 for the Grasmick. Archrival Grindrock will start from post 5. Eleven were entered for the race, but a maximum of 10 will compete given the layout of Fonner Park's course, which is five-eighths of a mile in circumference.
Post time for the Grasmick Handicap will be approximately 5:00 p.m. local time (CST). The race can be heard live over the Internet by visiting www.fonnerpark.com.