Home > Running Down a Dream > Chapter 14 - Winning a Race

Running Down a Dream
Bob Carson takes new owners from sales ring to turnout
written by Bob Carson

Chapter 14 - Winning a Race
'This Magic Moment'
By Pomus and Shulman, 1969, Sung by Jay and the Americans

Photo Source: Wikipedia

August 20, 2011.  

Hello Horsemen and Horsewomen,

What a thrill. 

Quite honestly, our hopes were that Mariko Hanover stayed trotting and showed improvement.  Winning a stakes race like the one Mariko won in Chester Pennsylvania took our breath away.  To most of you taking your first spin down harness horse ownership, this might seem routine; it is not.  Let me try to put this in perspective so you appreciate the magnitude of this wonderful race and why Jim and I are so giddy.

First of all, Jim and I have purchased at least ten yearlings, some pretty good ones, some have won fair races and a few racetrack races, but we never won a stakes race before yesterday.   The odds of winning a stakes race are long.  I don’t know the exact statistics but if you remember back to the horse auctions, where thousands of yearlings sold for thousands of dollars; less than 10% will ever win a stakes race. 

Making these odds longer for owners like Jim and me is that we cannot afford expensive yearlings.  There was a very interesting web page with the results of the five divisions of yesterday’s stallion series races.  The page listed the first three places in each race (one of which Mariko won).  Along with the race times and a link to the video tapes of the races, the page listed how much each of the top three horses in each race sold for at auction.

Thursday’s Results
Race 2, Chst, $20,000, Trot, The Stalllion Series 2 Year Old
Fillies, 28.1, 59.2, 1:28.3, 1:59.3, FT

1-Mariko Hanover (f, 2, Cantab Hall--Meadowbranch
Quiz, by Malabar Man), $9,500 2010 SHS-HBG O-James
R Beluscak & Robert K Carson. B-Hanover Shoe Farms
Inc. T-Marty Wollam. D-Ron Pierce, $10,000, Lifetime
Record: 5-1-0-1, $14,000

2-Can't Be Seduced (f, 2, Cantab Hall--Seducer Hall, by
Garland Lobell), $65,000 2010 SHS-HBG O-Melvin
Hartman, CA & Herb A Liverman & White Birch Farm.
B-Valley High Stable. T-Trond Smedshammer. D-Trond
Smedshammer, $5,000

3-Holier Than Thou (f, 2, Cantab Hall--Sunday Yankee,
by Muscles Yankee), $65,000 2010 SHS-HBG
O-W J Donovan. B-Valley High Stable. T-Jonas
Czernyson. D-Corey Callahan, $2,400
Calls: H, 1H, Q, 1Q, T
Finish Order: Say What, Meadowbranch Jill, Glide Star,
Volontary Simplcty. 

Mariko sold for $9,500, the second and third place horses in her race each sold for $65,000.  Ironically, all three of these horses were sired by Cantab Hall.  In the other divisions, one other modestly priced yearling sold for $16,000 but all the rest were very expensive yearling purchases.  The lesson for you here is that you CAN buy a good yearling inexpensively but you are fighting the laws of average.

Watch the race again.  This time, take note of a few things that you may not have noticed, little things that are important to those of us deep into harness racing.  For one thing, Mariko showed “good gate speed.”  She left from the farthest outside post position and raced to the quarter mile mark of the race in 28.1 seconds.  The ability to go fast early in a race is very important because you don’t want to have to catch up every time.  Mariko looked very fluid.  She is a big mare but seems to be well-coordinated.  And she kept trying, even when a couple of very good trotters pulled up next to her.

The final time of 1:59.3 was impressive.  In harness racing, you hear people say, “The horse is a two-minute trotter.”  This means that the horse has won a race in under two minutes.  This is quite a milestone for a trotter, very difficult to accomplish, especially in the very first year of racing.

Friends, I hope you enjoy this moment.  Attached is the replay.
http://www.harnessracingupdate.com/restricted/pdf/hru/hru81911.pdf go to page five and click on “Race”.

I’ll probably watch it twenty times and never get tired of it.  It’s important to appreciate these highs because in the career of every horse there will be lows.  But for today, we are on the mountain top.  In ten days we will see if Mariko repeats this performance.  Stay tuned.

Thinking about jumping into horse ownership?

E-mail owners@ustrotting.com and we will get you more information to get started in the racing game. Click here to share this story with a friend.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

Bob Carson
Hoof Beats Magazine About the Author
Bob Carson's award-winning freelance writing has appeared in more than two dozen national publications. He is a steady contributor to Trot Magazine, The United States Trotting Association and Timeline Magazine. After more than 200 magazine articles and stories, his first novel, The Voyage of Mess (humor) was released in 2009. In 2005 he produced the documentary film, Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). In 2006 he received the Hervey Award for Journalistic Excellence and Best of Ohio Fiction awards. He has published Minor Trips (Minor League Baseball) since 1991. Bob Carson has owned harness horses for more than a decade, including a stint as a weekend trainer. He lives in Strongsville, Ohio, with his wife, Sue, and daughter, Katie.
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