Wednesday, July 09, 2014


For JK the Beginningofanera


By Ken Weingartner

Alan Katz was hesitant to go to Ontario for the North America Cup last month, but he is glad he made the trip. It is unlikely he will have any similar reservations about crossing the Hudson River from New York and heading to Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace.

Katz and his brothers, Ron and Steve, bred and own JK Endofanera, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The colt won his Pace elimination by a neck over Always B Miki in 1:48.2 last weekend and will start the final from post two with Brian Sears driving for trainer Ron Burke.

In his previous start, June 14, JK Endofanera won the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He will try to become the 10th horse in harness racing history to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace.

The Meadowlands Pace and $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers will be shown live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. The card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series.

JK Endofanera’s win in the North America Cup came from post nine at odds of 12-1 and followed a third-place finish in his Cup elimination. Katz drove eight hours from New York City to Mohawk, staying on the ground because other family members do not care to fly.

“I asked Ron if the horse was going to be OK and told him I would be thrilled just to get a check,” Katz said. “He said, ‘I’m not.’ Once I heard that, I figured I had to drive up there because I’d promised my brother. I thought it might be a long weekend, but everything worked out really good. Brian drove him super.

“Once in a while, you get lucky. I was thrilled. The trip home seemed a lot shorter.”

JK Endofanera is a son of stallion Art Major out of the 3 Brothers Stables’ mare Presidential Lady, who was a homebred multiple stakes winner. The 3 Brothers Stables’ horses are named with the initials JK in memory of late family patriarch Jack Katz. JK Endofanera was named to honor Jack Katz as well as veterinarian Dr. Stephen P. Dey II, who passed away the day the horse was foaled at the Dey family’s Heritage Hill Farm.

Last year, JK Endofanera won four of seven races and finished second three times. He finished the campaign by winning the Governor’s Cup at the Meadowlands. This season, he has posted wins in the Simpson Memorial Stakes and divisions of the Historic-Pocono Cup and Somebeachsomewhere in addition to his North America Cup triumph.

In his Meadowlands Pace elimination, Sears and JK Endofanera sat in fourth place for the opening quarter-mile before bursting up the backstretch to take the lead at the halfway point. They then held off challenges from Always B Miki on the outside and Lyonssomewhere on the inside to win in a career-best 1:48.2.

“I thought he was going to get beat, but he showed a lot of class and held them all off,” Katz said. “He’s probably better following horses than he is cutting the mile, but when you’re the favorite every week you’ve got to be on the front. javascript:nullo()

“We’re tickled pink about him. I wish we had more like him. In this business, you never take anything for granted; they have to get a lot of good things to happen. It’s a race. Anything can happen. But he’s been giving us a thrill.”

Harness Racing Communications US Trotting Assn.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

Comments (0)

 
 

Monday, July 07, 2014


Meadowlands Pace: Game On


By Ken Weingartner

Dave Menary might have been concerned when He’s Watching lost for the first time in his career earlier this season, but the setback was something of a blessing for the 35-year-old trainer.

“When you’re undefeated and you’re trying to stay undefeated, it’s a lot of pressure,” Menary said. “Since he got beat I’ve had a lot more fun.”

Of course, winning again factors into that fun, and Menary hopes it continues in Saturday’s $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at the Meadowlands Racetrack. He’s Watching won his Pace elim by 2-3/4 lengths over Sometimes Said in 1:48.1 last weekend.

He’s Watching, who will start the Pace final from post three with driver Tim Tetrick, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera, who captured his Pace elim in 1:48.2, is the 2-1 favorite. He will start from post two with driver Brian Sears at the lines for trainer Ron Burke.

“Everything he’s gotten, he’s earned,” Menary said about He’s Watching, who has won 10 of 13 career races and earned $461,957. “There are so many good horses out there, and they go such big speeds, you need the speed but you need the luck too.

“You’re not going to dominate these horses. There are multiple horses that can go in (1):48 and change, and every horse in every race can go in (1):49. You need to have the speed, you need to race hard and have guts, and maybe have a little bit of luck.”

He’s Watching raced solely on the New York Sire Stakes circuit last year, but dominated on his way to the championship for 2-year-old male pacers. He set or equaled two world records as well as track records at five different racetracks and was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer in the U.S.

In four of his wins, He’s Watching was in front from gate to wire. In three other victories, he had the lead by the halfway point. The only time he failed to have the early lead came in his career debut, when he went off stride at the start and spotted the field more than 14 lengths, but still came back to win by three-quarters of a length.

“He’s just a good horse,” Menary said. “He’s a good horse no matter what track he races at, or what horses he races against. But now he’s racing a lot more good horses. Last year in New York, it was pretty much him against the clock. We had to over-race him a little bit to keep him out of trouble and get the job done.”

This year, He’s Watching lost his first race of the year, finishing sixth in his elimination for the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway. He bounced back to win a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk before finishing second in his elim for the North America Cup and third in the final.

He won his Meadowlands Pace elim from post nine, sitting fifth through the halfway point before getting to follow Sometimes Said around the final turn and kicking home in :26.4 over the final quarter-mile.

“It’s the first time he ever got a trip in his whole life,” Menary said. “He’s always been doing all the work or he’s been racing against the clock. [In the elimination] Tim did a great job. It’s almost like he learned to race a little bit and he got a trip and it worked out the way we wanted it to.”

Menary owns He’s Watching with Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero, and the Muscara Racing Trust. The colt, a son of stallion American Ideal out of the mare Baberhood, was purchased for a mere $3,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. His family includes millionaires Western Ideal, Leah Almahurst, and Naughty But Nice.

“He’s just a versatile horse with an unbelievable motor, so we have a lot of tools that we can work with,” said Menary, an Ontario resident whose recent successes include Battle of Waterloo winners Tarpon Hanover and Prodigal Son, as well as stakes-winners Tea Party Princess and Haul Away.

“The first start of the year, it was just a series of bad events and you turn the page. Things haven’t fallen in line exactly the way they should have, but I’m not disappointed with the colt or the start of the year. I think this is a step in the right direction. I think we’re going to hear a lot of good from him this year.”

Here is the field in post order for the Meadowlands Pace: with drivers from the eliminations, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. National Debt, Ron Pierce, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1; 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1; 3. He’s Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1; 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1; 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1; 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1; 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1; 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1; 10. Doo Wop Hanover, Corey Callahan, Steve Elliott, 30-1.


Ken Weingartner is a member of the Harness Racing Communications Department of the U.S. Trotting Assn.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

Comments (0)

 
 

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Lots of Schnittker Fireworks at Historic Goshen


By Ken Weingartner

Goshen, NY --- It was a nearly perfect day for Ray Schnittker.

Schnittker drove in seven Landmark Stakes events at Historic Track on Friday afternoon and came away with six victories. Among the winners was 3-year-old male pacer Stevensville, who could be heading to the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios at the end of the month.

Other winners for Schnittker, who is based at Historic Track, were 2-year-old male trotter Gabe The Bear Dean, 2-year-old female pacer Shes Ready To Rock, 3-year-old female trotter Suegrabbitnrun, 3-year-old male trotter Derby, and 2-year-old female trotter Kaliska.

Gary Messenger trained two Landmark winners, 2-year-old male pacer K J Ben and 2-year-old female trotter She’s So Into Me, and Angus MacDonald sent out a winner in 3-year-old female pacer Misty Major.

Stevensville, who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Max C. Hempt Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, won the $19,340 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old pacers in 1:58.1 over a sloppy track. Rain fell throughout the afternoon on an unseasonably cool 66-degree Fourth of July.

Owned by Schnittker, Paul Bordogna, and Ryan Miller, Stevensville has won seven of 21 career races and $185,079. He finished second in last year’s Matron Stakes.

“He’s been real good,” Schnittker said. “He raced real good last week and I think if he’d gotten through a little sooner he would have been maybe third.

“We’re going to go to the Adios, I think. I skipped the Meadowlands Pace. I think he’s fifth to 10th best [horse in the division] and there’s so much money later in the year, hopefully I can grab some.”

Derby, who finished second in the Dexter Cup in May, won the $20,640 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old trotters in 2:03.3. The gelding is owned by Schnittker, Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC, and Ted Gewertz. He has won three consecutive starts after starting the season with six setback.

He’s come around a little bit,” Schnittker said. “He actually raced pretty good for Danny Cappello at Saratoga the last two starts. He had sort of an attitude problem, but it looks like he’s starting to get it figured out now. Hopefully he’ll end up having a good year.”

Schnittker also was pleased with Kaliska, who won in 2:05.2, and Gabe The Bear Dean, who won in 2:03.

Kaliska (Credit Winner-Armbro Vivian) is owned by Schnittker, Thomas Spatorico, Pepin Stable, and Fam Alber Horse Racing. She is a full sister to stakes-winner Frank The Hands. Gabe The Bear Dean (Lucky Chucky-Madam Hooch) is owned by Schnittker and Minix Stable.

“[Kaliska] kind of doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Schittker said. “She figured out to go by [other horses] finally; usually she’s a little bit late that way.

“Gabe The Bear Dean, I think he could be a real nice New York Sire [Stakes horse]. He’s going next Wednesday at Buffalo. I think he’s one of the better Lucky Chucky colts, so hopefully he’ll be alright.”

Suegrabbitnrun won in 2:01.4 for Schnittker and Charlie Iannazzo, who also bred the filly, and Shes Ready To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover-She’s My Belle) won in 2:04.1 for owners Schnittker, Frank Baldassare, and Mary Kinsey.

K J Ben (Riggins-Winsmith Karen), driven by Jason Bartlett, won in 2:04 for breeder/owner Scott Woogen. In the next race, She’s So Into Me (Conway Hall-In To Me) and driver Jim Taggart Jr. won in 2:07 for owners Woogen and Brenda Messenger.

Misty Major, also driven by Taggart, won in 2:03.3 for owner E.J. Treadway.

Friday’s nine-race Landmark Stakes card was part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

Comments (0)

 
 

Page 3 of 16 pages « FirstP  <  1 2 3 4 5 >  Last »