by Evan Pattak
The ancient Greeks considered Nemesis the goddess of retribution, and for trainer Bill Bercury, his horse Major Nemesis often seemed just that, racing himself into repeated trouble when it appeared his speed lay over the field.
In recent weeks, however, the 5-year-old Big Bad John-Nassau Loop gelding ripped off an impressive winning streak at Northfield Park and is back at The Meadows to show off his new, mannerly look.
Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday following a week’s post-Adios break, and Major Nemesis and Aaron Merriman have drawn post 4 in the $18,000 Open Handicap Pace, which goes as race 7. First post is 1:05 PM.
Bercury purchased Major Nemesis for owner Renee Bercury toward the end of his sophomore campaign on the advice of one of the horse’s drivers. Recalls Bill Bercury: “He said to me, ‘This is the fastest horse I ever sat behind. If you get him, you’ll figure him out.’ I didn’t think it would take me a year to figure him out, although he’s more than paid for himself. He’s a wonderful horse to work with. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
Early on for the Bercurys, Major Nemesis proved fast but furious. Bercury implemented a makeover by treating the horse’s feet and throwing away his equipment card.
“We took off his shadow roll, his head pole, his Murphy blinds,” Bercury reports. “We rigged him with expandable hopples that stretch three inches and give him much more support. Give Aaron credit for that — it was his idea.”
The results have been palpable. His four straight victories at Northfield included a pair of sub-1:50 miles in which he was parked most of the way. In his return to The Meadows on Adios Day, he finished fourth off a similar demanding trip.
A win Saturday would vault Major Nemesis over $200,000 in career earnings. One of the major impediments will be his stablemate, Carolina Beach, who’ll leave from post 5 in the same race.
Bercury is pointing Major Nemesis to a pair of stakes for Ohio eligibles later this year, and he’s confident that the horse no longer is bent on retribution.
“I qualified him myself and found him to be not that difficult anymore,” Bercury says. “I think he’s growing up.”
On the wagering front, Saturday’s card features a $6,563.80 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5.