Mark MacDonald Returns with Nose The Trade

(From track report)
Former trainer Mark MacDonald, now a part-time bloodstock agent and owner, is back at Hollywood Park with Nose The Trade, an English import scheduled to make his United States debut Saturday in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles.

MacDonald was the stable trainer for W.R. Hahn.

"I left training after Mr. Hawn died, and have been a bloodstock agent the last five years," said MacDonald, 46. "I have owned the Shoal Bay Lodge, a hotel with a licensed pub and café near Vancouver, for the last three years. I spend my summers there and then head over to Europe to try and buy a few horses like this one."

Nose The Trade is one of six horses MacDonald bought on his latest trip. He owns him in partnership with Mark Couto, a former trainer in Northern California who now owns an equine aviation company and races under the nom de course Sky Chase Farms.

Jahaam, another horse that MacDonald bought earlier this year in Europe, won a turf race for $62,500 claimers at Hollywood on Thanksgiving Day.

MacDonald liked Nose The Trade, a 4-year-old gelding by Cyrano de Bergerac, because of his form on dirt tracks in England.

"He won seven races in England, and five of them were on dirt," said MacDonald. "He was one of the highest-rated dirt horses in Europe with a 106 (Timeform) rating. Three of the races were at Wolverhampton, a one-mile oval with left handed turns like American racing."

Nose The Trade surprised MacDonald with a series of sharp works since he joined the Mike Puhich barn at Santa Anita four weeks ago.

"Jamie Osborne, a former steeplechase jockey who trained him in England, said he was a lazy work horse," said MacDonald. "When he went three furlongs in a bullet :34 in his first work and then breezed five furlongs in 1:00 1/5, he shocked us."

A field of at least six is shaping up for the Native Diver: Euchre (Alex Solis), Grey Memo (Mike Smith), Piensa Sonando (Laffit Pincay, Jr.), Fleetstreet Dancer (Tyler Baze), Cottage and Nose The Trade.

Cottage, riding the crest of a three-race winning streak for Bill Spawr, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Sunday at Santa Anita.