Horses of Ontario: Whippet Good

Jun 28, 2017 Comments Off by Admin
Spotlight series written by: Amelia Jaggard
Whippet Good, also known as Whippet, is a 2002 Standardbred gelding loved by Jim DeChellis and Julia Stewart.
Whippet was retired from his racing career in 2015 with an impressive resume of 365 starts, 50 lifetime career wins, a career best of 1:50.1s, and more than $922,000 in earnings.
Sired by Island Fantasy, Whippet was born on Glengate Farms in Ontario. Bill Boden, Martwest Racing Stable and Jim Ainsworth purchased Whippet as a yearling for $32,000 in the fall of 2003. In 2004, Whippet was listed in the Summer Sizzler Mixed Sale and purchased by trainer Jim DeChellis of Welland, Ontario.
Jim DeChellis had been a part-time horseman for years. When the steel mill that employed DeChellis closed in 2003, he focused his time on Standardbred racing. DeChellis and his son Nino, attended the Summer Sizzler Mixed Sale with a $5,000 budget. Prior to the sale, DeChellis had done his research on Hip 213: Whippet Good. The early stages of Whippet’s career didn’t show huge potential, earning less than $1,000 as a freshman and winning one race, but being set down for interference and eventually placed seventh. The father-son duo purchased Whippet for $4,700.
Under the training and care of DeChellis, Whippet went on to be both the richest and fastest performer of his sire’s offspring. In 2005, at the Middlesex County Pacing Series at the Western Fair, the then three-year-old Whippet, raced in the Final earning a cheque of $23,950, which would be the single biggest purse cheque of his racing career. Whippet ended his three-year-old year just over the $64,000 mark.
Over the years, Whippet practiced his trade predominantly on the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) circuit. Team DeChellis worked their way up to the top level. Whippet competed in the Open at age five, which was his best single season for earnings totalling $210,710. Whippet’s first and only win in the Open happened in September of that same year. It was a special night for Team DeChellis, winning against sub-1:50 performer Northern Trail and four multi-millionaires: Boulder Creek, Escape The Wind, Ramegade Bruiser and Secrets Nephew.
On October 4, 2011 Whippet was involved in a horrific accident at Woodbine. Later that year, Whippet had made a full recovery and was back on the track, and winning. In the years following the accident, Whippet made more than 40 seasonal starts each year. DeChellis told Standardbred Canada, “We’ve been like Saturday night buddies for 10 years. My wife used to say I was going out on a date every week.”
On June 11, 2015 Whippet made his last start and came up lame. It was the first time Whippet had come out of a race hurt, according to DeChellis. After a few months off, Whippet had made a full recovery. There was only one year left for Whippet to compete, and DeChellis figured if he quite now, Whippet could be sound for the rest of his life. With that in mind, he decided to retire his beloved Whippet at the age of 14. DeChellis told Standardbred Canada that he credits driver Shane Weber for teaching Whippet, “how to be a racehorse” and helping him achieve a career with 50 wins.
DeChellis easily considers Whippet the best horse he’s ever trained, telling Standardbred Canada, “He wasn’t the fastest horse around but he had to be the toughest one I’ve ever seen…A little bit has to be genetics but he was just a nice, tough horse.”
After his on-track career concluded, Whippet easily transitioned into a second career as a riding horse. He now lives at Double Duty Farm outside of Cayuga, Ontario in the care of Julia Stewart. DeChellis and Stewart have known each other for about 25 years. Stewart has spent most of her adult life working with Standardbreds; handling stallions on a breeding farm, training and looking after broodmares and horses on rest due to injury. Stewart cared for Whippet when he was a three-year-old.
When DeChellis retired Whippet, he called Stewart in hopes of finding a good home for the horse. After some thinking, Stewart called back and told DeChellis she would take Whippet.
Stewart has broken out about 15 Standardbreds to ride, and has found each one easy to train, saying, “They know everything already and are extremely willing.”
Whippet’s favourite activity in retirement is eating, according to Stewart. She said Whippet is super intelligent, and yet a clutz, adding, “He can trip over his own feet. It makes me laugh to think he won all that money. You just never know where a diamond is.”
Sarah Nixon comes to Double Duty Farm to ride Whippet. Nixon rides Whippet on the trails, around cattle and around the trail equipment, saying, “He [Whippet] loves trail equipment.”
Nixon said Whippet makes a great riding horse, adding “I believe because he just wants his ‘people’ to be happy. Whippet really has a heart of gold.”
Nixon said DeChellis still comes to visit Whippet, adding, “He’s so happy that Whippet is enjoying his racing retirement.”
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