Pleasant Closing ~ Overtime
Pedigree: Closing Argument-Pleasant Jolie by Pleasant Colony
Owners: Murray Duncan and Garylle Stewart Trainer: Murray Duncan Jockey: Tyrone Nelson
Trainer Murray Duncan can fool you. He doesn’t say much, but he knows horses. His record speaks for itself, as does his experience. Pleasant Closing is the beneficiary.
Duncan and partner Garylle Stewart claimed Pleasant Closing at Oaklawn Park for $30,000 from super trainer Steve Asmussen on February 5 this year. Two races later they scored with their new horse on the class raise to $50,000. People just don’t do that to one of North America’s leading trainers on a regular basis. Duncan did it again by winning a stakes race.
Pleasant Closing won the $30,000 Harry Jeffrey Stakes on July 14 by a half length over fellow Derby entrant So Shiny. In the process he left the previously undefeated Balooga Bull in his wake. The bay 3-year-old colt by Closing Argument was already proven at a distance at Oaklawn Park, and his dam is by Pleasant Colony, an exceptional source of stamina in thoroughbreds, so the result wasn’t totally unexpected.
Duncan knew all along what he had and was just waiting for his chance to jump over the boards. He likely wouldn’t tell you that. Nor would you ever know that he was first licensed as a trainer in 1962. Or that he had a horse named Precambrian that ran eight times at the Downs during a 42-day meeting in 1961 and won seven straight races. Or that he exercised horses like 1968 Gold Cup winner Clique for the late A.E. “Bert” Blake. Or that his partnership with Garylle Stewart, brother of famed Assiniboia Downs rider Bobby Stewart, goes all the way back to the end of the Original Six era.
A native of Carberry, Manitoba, Duncan comes by his horsemanship talents naturally, having grown up on a mixed farm with horses, cattle and grain, but he’s honed his skills at the track, especially during the past few years after working 24 ½-years working in a potato factory.
He’ll tell you he’s always had claiming horses. And that this is the best 3-year-old he’s ever had. And that he’s been married to Pat for 45 years, who keeps the coffee brewing and the tack clean. Now 71, Duncan ran fifth in the Manitoba Derby last year with Pulgarcito. He’ll have the same talented jockey, Tyrone Nelson, back in the saddle again this year.