Growing up in Windsor, Ontario, there were two main passions for Timothy Faubert and his friends: hockey and horse racing.
Fifty years later the group of eight still relishes the passion of a good hockey game, and in the past three years they've also enjoyed a very successful Thoroughbred racing venture in partnership with Hill 'n' Dale's John Sikura.
Last weekend, the partnership celebrated the win of the cheekily named Share the Upside in Oaklawn's King Cotton Stakes. The 5-year-old son of Maclean's Music defeated Grade 1 winner and multimillion-dollar earner Whitmore by 1 ½ lengths off a six-month layoff, improving his record over the Hot Springs oval to four wins and a second from five starts.
“Oh man, what a race,” Faubert said. “We knew we had a big challenge in Whitmore, but (Share The Upside) was really impressive.”
“He's a very deserving horse,” Sikura echoed. “Steve (Asmussen, trainer) has really done a great job with him. It's so nice to do something like this with people who really share the passion for the sport.”
It was the first stakes win for Share the Upside, known to the Windsor Boys as “STU.”
The gelding is named for a Spendthrift Farm breeding incentive program, and was initially “a mocking name,” Sikura explained. Since naming STU, however, Sikura and Spendthrift's B. Wayne Hughes have talked through their different opinions over incentives and cleared the air.
“I actually have to thank him, because I'm a lot more discerning now than I used to be,” Sikura said. “When you're standing a stallion under $10,000, you need to be all in and supporting him with good mares.”
STU is one of Sikura's homebreds, an Ontario-bred out of the unraced Silver Deputy mare Mystic Silver, but he RNA'd at the Keeneland September Yearling sale when bidding stopped at $75,000.
“When he didn't sell, I brought him back home and put him in training,” Sikura said. “He got a little funny behind, and I thought maybe he was a wobbler for a little while. Then we castrated him and gave him some time, and he seemed to put it all together.”
He didn't make his first start until early in his 3-year-old season, but STU's debut was a winning one. The gelding has now compiled a record of 5-4-1 in 13 starts for earnings of $345,097.
For the Windsor Boys, the horse's name isn't as important as where he might take them in the future. Faubert explained that they'd really enjoyed watching Canadian-based Ami's Mesa run second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in 2017, and they look forward to someday having the chance to run in the World Championships with a horse of their own.
Of course, Faubert knows the group has already achieved much greater success than most new owners, thanks to the mentorship and partnership with Sikura.
“I keep telling them they've had an impossibly high strike rate,” Sikura said, pointing to the partnership's 10-6-4 record from 28 starts. “I'm glad to be a part of them enjoying the game, though. They really care about the horses.”
To date, the partnership's most successful horse is 2018 Sovereign Award-winner and multiple graded stakes-winner Moonlit Promise. The mare just foaled a colt by Quality Road, and Faubert said the group is looking forward to racing him in the future.
“We're like first-time grandparents now,” Faubert said, laughing.
Looking forward, Faubert said the group hopes to keep STU running through the sprint stakes series at Oaklawn this winter. Additionally, promising young filly Curlin's Voyage is preparing for her 3-year-old season at Woodbine.
The stakes-winning daughter of Curlin is currently in training in Florida with Josie Carroll, and Faubert said the target will be to get her to the Woodbine Oaks.
“Josie sent me a photo of her this week, and she's looking really good,” he said. “All of us have enjoyed learning about this sport, from John and from our world-class trainer Josie Carroll. We've seen what it takes to turn a young horse into a champion, and we've seen all the little challenges that pop up along the way… We're often joking that horse racing is a lot like hockey, because they're both equally tough sports.”
The members of the Windsor Boys partnership all came together through either a connection to hockey or harness racing, both of which were popular in their hometown. One of the members, Joel Quenneville, is a three-time Stanley Cup winner as the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Quenneville and Sikura met through hockey when Sikura played for the Windsor Spitfires. When the Windsor Boys started travelling to Saratoga 15 years or so ago for summer vacations, Faubert explained that they all met Sikura there, through his connection to the coach, and began planning a venture in Thoroughbred racing.
“We just fell in love with the vibe there, and the culture,” Faubert said. “We met through our high school years and have since spread all around and are all involved in various businesses, but we stayed in touch. We finally decided to start the ownership group, and we've really been enjoying it.
“It was (Sikura's) roots to Canada and his love for hockey that made us like him from the start. That's really what brought us all together; Canada, hockey, and horses.”
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