Under the Radar

On A Streak is ready to shine in 2021

story by Ken Weingartner

In his early days, On A Streak was the type of horse easy to overlook. He did not burst on the scene with flashy performances and his relaxed demeanor around the stable rendered him somewhat invisible.
But by the time his 2-year-old season ended, he was impossible to ignore.

A steadily improving trotter, On A Streak captured the William Wellwood Memorial in mid-September to break his maiden and seven weeks later stood in the winner’s circle at the Breeders Crown at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.

In addition to those victories, the colt was second in the Valley Victory Stakes and third in the inaugural Mohawk Million and a division of the Champlain Stakes. He hit the board a total of eight times in 10 starts and earned $740,947 on his way to receiving the O’Brien Award for Canada’s best 2-year-old male trotter.

“He is just a horse that never did anything wrong,” said Bob McClure, who was one of two drivers to sit behind On A Streak last year. “You could almost say he was on the side of boring; he practically drove himself. He was a professional right from the beginning, and as the season went on, he just progressively got better and better.”

On A Streak was the favorite only once last year, in his campaign-ending trip to the Valley Victory at The Meadowlands, where he came up a neck short to Bee Forever. Otherwise, he was sent off at odds shorter than 8-1 only twice. He was 15-1 in winning the Wellwood and 9-1 in the Breeders Crown final.

Entering this season, On A Streak is receiving far more attention. When Meadowlands analyst Ken Warkentin released his winter book Top 10 for the 2021 Hambletonian, On A Streak was No. 2 on the list, behind only Dan Patch Award winner Venerate.

“I think he’s the type of colt that will come back better as a 3-year-old,” McClure said about On A Streak. “He was a little on the lazy side, a little on the big side, and he progressed so much over the year, and matured so much, I think he’s the type that will really improve. I expect him to be substantially better this year.”
Luc Blais, who trains On A Streak for owner Serge Godin’s Determination stable, was pleased with the way the colt returned this year from his winter layoff.

“He’s grown, he’s thicker, like you hope he’s going to come back,” Blais said. “He looks really good. I’m very happy.
“He’s a very laid-back horse, not tough on himself, and I think that’s his best quality. There is not very much stress. I like that.”

On A Streak comes by his easygoing character naturally.

“He was always a chill horse,” said breeder Elizabeth Caldwell, the manager of her family’s Cane Run Farm. “We never had any issues with him. He was just easy.

“It’s nice to see that he seemed level-headed on the track too. He just seemed at ease with whatever the driver told him to do. Sometimes they have to learn, and they don’t always know how to make different moves, but he seemed to handle everything asked of him.”

On A Streak is a son of Cantab Hall out of Habit’s Best. His half-brother, Habitat, also was an O’Brien Award winner, and his other siblings include Grand Circuit winner Creature Of Habit and Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Hat Trick Habit. The dam’s success rate contributed to On A Streak’s name.

“I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, but I thought those other horses raced well, so maybe she’s on a streak,” Caldwell said. “You never know how it’s going to pan out on the racetrack, but she’s been very good to us. It’s been exciting.”

McClure drove On A Streak in his career debut, a second-place finish in the opening round of the Millard Farms Series at Woodbine Mohawk Park. In his next two starts in the event, Scott Young piloted the colt while McClure sat behind Blais-trained stablemates. On A Streak was fourth in the second round before finishing second to McClure and Macho Martini in the final. Macho Martini won in a series-record 1:54.4.

Prior to driving On A Streak, Young approached McClure for his thoughts about the horse. McClure told Young that On A Streak’s attitude and manners belied his age and assured Young he would have no issues.

“Bobby couldn’t have been more right,” Young said. “He was a professional from day one—great gaited, beautiful to drive. You could do whatever you wanted. He honestly was a driver’s dream for a 2-year-old trotting colt. Two-year-old trotting colts don’t come like him very often.

“He’s a complete dude.”

Young would not drive On A Streak again until the Wellwood final. McClure guided the trotter to his third-place finish in the Champlain and then a second-place finish in his Wellwood elimination at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where he lost by a nose from post eight to Southwind Tyrion.

“The elimination of the Wellwood is when he started to show the caliber he was,” McClure said. “He was maturing and finding his form.”

Southwind Tyrion and Macho Martini both entered the Wellwood final with unblemished records, but the night belonged to On A Streak. Young got away third heading around the first turn, brushed to the lead on the backstretch and held off Southwind Tyrion for the last quarter mile to win by a head. Macho Martini finished third.

“I don’t think [On A Streak] was getting enough recognition or credit for the miles he’d been trotting just because Macho Martini was undefeated going in,” Young said. “He was trotting some very decent miles and going the right way on the end. He was getting better and better every week. He was peaking at the right time.

“When he drew [post two] in the final, I thought a top-three finish was definitely in his sights and with any luck maybe we could get the W. Everything worked out perfect going into the first turn and when I cleared to the lead, it was game on because I was up there doing it by myself. It was my race to win or lose then.”

The victory in the Wellwood gave On A Streak an automatic berth in the Mohawk Million. With Young in the sulky for the final time with him, On A Streak finished third behind Venerate and eventual O’Brien Award-winning filly Donna Soprano.

McClure returned for the colt’s final three races of the campaign, beginning with a fourth-place finish in his Breeders Crown elimination at Hoosier Park, where he was beaten by only three-quarters of a length.
In the final, On A Streak surged down the stretch to overcome pacesetter Captain Corey and then held off In Range by three-quarters of a length to win in a stakes-record 1:52.4. It was the first Breeders Crown title for McClure and fourth for Blais.

“He was awesome in the Breeders Crown and the trip worked out fantastic,” McClure said. “But I’d say he was just as good in the Wellwood. He raced big.

“In the Breeders Crown he tripped out, got a two-hole ride, while the two favorites crushed each other into the ground. In the Wellwood, he had one coming at him early on the turn and he fought them off. I thought it was probably his best race.”

On A Streak became the second O’Brien Award-winning 2-year-old male trotter for the Blais-McClure tandem in three years. Their previous honoree was Forbidden Trade, who at age 3 won the Hambletonian and received Canada’s Horse of the Year Award.

“He reminds me a lot of Forbidden Trade,” Blais said of On A Streak. “He has nice qualities. He’s a very cool horse and you can do what you want with him. He has a lot of character. He shows up.”
And everyone is likely to take notice now. HB

Ken Weingartner is the USTA media relations manager. To comment on this story, email us at readerforum@ustrotting.com.

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