One Change victorious
By Jonny Turner
One Change capped his rise from the bottom of the barrel to champion two-year-old with his win in the 2YO Emerald at the Harness Jewels.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained two-year-old bolted away from his rivals to win the Group 1 feature by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
One Change not only sealed the country’s two-year-old of the year title for male pacers, he confirmed his rise in Purdon’s estimations.
Trevor Casey, who races the pacer with the master trainer, as well as Rasmussen and Mike Woodcock revealed Purdon gave a far from flattering assessment of the pacer early in his career.
“Mark, when he first drove this horse came off the track and I said do you like this horse and he said not really,” Casey said in his acceptance speech.
Casey dedicated One Change’s victory to his former owner and loyal All Stars owner, the late Neil Pilcher.
Pilcher was in the ownership of the horse when he purchased from the national yearling sales for $30,000.
Woodcock, a retired high school teacher who works at the All Stars stable, joined Purdon, Rasmussen and Casey in One Change’s ownership after Pilcher’s death.
He said he was close to Pilcher, which made racing One Change special.
“I was with Neil the morning he died.”
Woodcock said he believed he was offered the opportunity to race the two-year-old by Purdon and Rasmussen as reward for his service of more than a decade to the All Stars stable.
“My gut feeling is it is almost a reward for loyalty.
“I have been good to Mark and Mark has been good to me.
“I have been with him, not only through all the good times, but through the dark times, as well.”
One Change is just the second horse Woodcock has raced.
His first horse, Zion Bromac, was sold to Australia with the claim to fame that he beat Turn It Up, early in his career.
One Change was trailed home by his stablemate, Flying Even Bettor, who finished well for driver Blair Orange
Zeuss Bromac was third for trainer-driver Zac Butcher.