MOHAWK MILLION up subsequent for Luther’s million-dollar experiment

The Ohio proprietor will ship his star Indiana-sired 2-year-old trotting filly Yo Beth D to Toronto to contest subsequent Saturday’s $1 million occasion.

by James Platz

As Greg Luther launched into his “million-dollar experiment” within the fall of 2020, the Ohioan did so with the singular purpose of profitable the Little Brown Jug. Whereas constructing a large steady of horses educated by his brother, Todd, he has made it a degree to accumulate high quality stakes horses to compete on harness racing’s greatest levels. Subsequent week, “Crew Luther” will take a shot on the Mohawk Million, the most important purse race for younger trotters, with Indiana-sired filly Yo Beth D.

“She’s obtained a spot for the Mohawk Million,” Luther stated after her newest win Tuesday (Sept. 13) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. “I’m enthusiastic about it. I do know the workforce is happy too. It’s a really distinctive alternative, for positive.”

Two months in the past the Mohawk Million wasn’t on the radar for the Blacklick, OH resident. He didn’t have a horse able to competing at that stage, however an sudden alternative arose. Verlin Yoder, who owned and developed Yo Beth D, bought a thoroughbred farm in Kentucky. The coach started to liquidate a number of of his equine belongings to generate money for renovations. Luther was within the Helpisontheway freshman, a winner in three of 4 begins for Yoder, together with a pair of Indiana Sires Stakes legs.

“I get loads of guys that decision me after they’re promoting huge horses. Verlin, who’s in my view among the best trotting trainers round, purchased a brand new farm and he’s making an attempt to rehab that farm. He wanted to only money out. I used to be in a position to purchase her in order that he can use his money elsewhere. She’s principally constructing a farm out for them,” Luther stated. “He’s positively helped with giving us recommendations on what he is aware of about her. He’s nonetheless shoeing her for us. He sneakers his personal horses. Nearly as good as she is, I don’t need to change something. I figured let’s hold the identical blacksmith. He’s been form sufficient to shoe her for us.”

In her first begin for Luther’s Black Magic Racing, LLC, Yo Beth D romped by 11 lengths for driver Trevor Smith, kicking house with a 27-second final quarter and tripping the timer in 1:54.3. After the Aug. 17 sires stakes triumph, the proprietor started receiving calls inquiring about his curiosity within the Million.

“I had by no means actually thought of it myself, however I had a few guys name me saying they’d a spot and asking if I had thought-about. I had not likely checked out her schedule, however positive sufficient, that’s per week she’s not racing,” he stated.

In an ideal world, the deal to safe a slot within the Mohawk Million would have been consummated shortly after Yo Beth D’s second begin for her new connections, a sires stakes occasion held Aug. 30 at Hoosier Park. Luck was not on Luther’s aspect nonetheless, and the heavily-favored filly made an premature break racing into the primary flip. She would go on to complete seventh, and the negotiations had been placed on maintain.

“We had been going to signal for a spot, however she threw a shoe, which hit her within the hock and she or he made a break. Exhibiting a break, that was a priority to some teams,” stated the proprietor.


Yo Beth D’s miscue is emblematic of the setbacks Luther and Black Magic Racing have endured in 2022. Final season, the steady counted 84 totally different horses that made a complete of 863 begins, with 130 wins and purses of $2.58 million. Two of the important thing victories got here within the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes with Catch The Hearth, and Katie’s Fortunate Day scoring an upset win within the $351,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity as a $75,000 complement.

“For me the Dan Patch was large with Catch The Hearth. I believe that was in all probability our greatest excessive,” Luther stated. “Final yr was superb for us. We simply evaluate every part to the state of Ohio, as a result of that’s the place we’re at. We received extra Grand Circuit races than all the opposite (Ohio) trainers mixed final yr, in order that was one thing to be happy with in our first huge yr doing it. We’ve had some dangerous luck this yr with some accidents on a number of of the Grand Circuit horses, however they’re all coming again now, and I believe we’ll make slightly restoration.”

This season, the steady is represented by 116 horses making 829 begins, producing 108 wins and simply shy of $2 million in earnings. For the reason that starting of his “experiment,” Luther has invested over $7 million up to now. Due to the cash he has poured into the game, Black Magic Racing, LLC shall be changed by Greg Luther Racing, LLC on Oct. 1.

“Black Magic Racing disappears in two weeks. We’ll be a brand new LLC. The tax man stated I’ve misplaced loads of cash, it’s now a pastime. I want to start out over with a brand new enterprise in order that I can nonetheless get my tax write-offs,” stated the actual property coach. “And perhaps that eliminates the black cat. Everyone stated perhaps it’s the identify. We’ll go together with a contemporary new identify October 1 for the final quarter and see if Greg Luther Racing does properly.”

The on-track setbacks and off-track paperwork modifications haven’t dissuaded Luther from persevering with his quest to win one of many sport’s most revered races. He nonetheless intends to spend on yearlings this fall, though he’ll recalibrate on what he buys.

“We’ve discovered so much. You recognize, you win some, you be taught some. For all divisions, we’re sticking with Ohio as a lot as we will, however my final purpose is to win the Jug,” he stated. “After I go to Lexington or Harrisburg, I’ll in all probability get pacing colts searching for that dream, however every part else will probably be Ohio, perhaps Pennsylvania or Indiana. We’re going to remain within the Midwest. We’re not going to dial again on the quantity, it’s simply going to be extra centralized on location.”


All events hoped to see Yo Beth D rebound from her uncharacteristic break final Tuesday, and the freshman responded with a stable effort. Ranging from the rail for Smith, the filly obtained each name and held on to seize the $67,500 Indiana Sires Stakes division by a nostril in 1:55.1.

“She educated like a monster. She truly educated quicker than the Ohio Sire Stakes that we received final week. She educated an enormous mile and she or he’s sharp proper now. That is the proper time as she’s peaking,” Luther stated of the filly, now a winner of $133,250.

With the win secured, the proprietor turned his consideration to selecting a dance accomplice for the Million. Luther stated his choice boiled down to creating the race a “household affair” along with his brother coaching and Smith within the sulky.

“It’s at all times been essential to me to remain true to myself and my workforce. A few of these guys which can be promoting their spots for the Mohawk Million, they need Yo Beth D within the race, however they need one of many huge drivers on there, or ship her to a giant coach for the week. I’ve at all times wished to remain true to my workforce and my roots. My brother trains the horse and Trevor Smith drives the horse, even in a million-dollar race,” he stated. “Everyone referred to as me loopy within the Kentucky Filly Futurity, and he (Smith) did properly there. I at all times wished individuals to provide me a shot in life. Whenever you’ve obtained someone that’s aggressive and younger, you need to attempt to present a shot for them. I’m positive all the large guys shall be out there, however Trevor’s my man.”

Luther will make the most of the slot bought by Doug Overhiser and Sam Bowie. He stated the associated fee was increased, however with fewer circumstances.

“It price me slightly more cash for the spot I took, however I’m ready to make use of my driver, and that was actually essential to me to provide him a possibility,” Luther stated. “I wouldn’t need to go to a race if I couldn’t use my workforce, if I needed to play by another person’s guidelines. Then it’s not enjoyable for me. I did pay slightly little bit of a premium, however I can have Trevor drive and Todd practice and we will go up there as a workforce and win on the large stage.”

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