Two 2-year-old colt pacers, Allstar Partner and Workandplayhard are in divisions of the Historic-Goshen Cup, while 2-year-old filly pacer Mcvita Bella is in a division of the Historic-Debutante.
Workandplayhard got a late start to the season and is just getting into shape, but Allstar Partner and Mcvita Bella have both won four of six races. They are helping Butenschoen cope with the loss of not one, but two assistant trainers.
Bernie Foti, who was partners with Butenschoen in purchasing Allstar Partner, died of a stroke at age 56 in May and Albert “The Bandit” Bernard, a Prince Edward Island legend, succumbed to leukemia at age 70 in June.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” Butenschoen said. “The horses race good -- you’re excited and happy. But then you think those guys put in all the work and did everything with the colts. They’re the reason the horses are successful. And when the horses are doing good and they don’t see it, you kind of wish they could be there to see their work pay off.
‘The season’s sort of been dedicated to them and the horses are doing a nice job. Maybe they’re doing good because of that.”
|Chris Gooden photo|
|Allstar Partner has won his last three starts, including a personal best 1:51.4 score in a PA Sire Stakes race at The Meadows.|
Foti and his brother Michael approached Butenschoen about going in on a modestly priced horse and the group decided on Allstar Partner at the Lexington Selected Sale. They purchased the son of Four Starzzz Shark-Faithful Ideal for $10,000.
“We started looking at Allstar,” Butenschoen said. “I knew he was a good looking horse, and his sire was not as popular as some of the other ones so I thought we could get him at a good price. We saw him priced at $10,000 and thought that was a fair price.
“He trained down well. We were hoping to have a nice horse to race and that turned out to be true and then some. We have him staked in a few other things. We have him in the (Pennsylvania) Sire Stakes final and Keystone Classic. We’ll shut him down and bring him back next year and be a little more aggressive.”
Owned by VIP Internet Stable and Michael Foti, the colt has earned $123,160 this season thanks in part to two wins in the sire stakes and victories in divisions of the Pennsylvania All Stars and Arden Downs. He is the 6-5 favorite from post six, with driver Corey Callahan, in his division of the Goshen Cup.
Mcvita Bella was purchased at the Standardbred Horse Sale for $8,000 under the name Cheyenne Bellizza, although Butenschoen was not on any kind of quest for the filly. She is by Somebeachsomewhere out of Cheyenne Sabrina, who is a full sister to millionaire The Panderosa. She is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, VIP Internet Stable, Tangie Massey and Bill Boyce.
“I had some people interested in the Harrisburg Sale, and I wasn’t looking to particularly buy her,” he said. “But when she came into the ring I had all my notes, and she sold at what I thought was a reasonable number. I took a shot at her and it’s the same thing as Allstar, she’s done extremely well.
“We did stake her up to a few more things and we have a little more if we want to go that way with her. She’ll go to Tioga for the Reynolds, and later the Keystone Classic. After that we’ll either shut her down or not. We could bring her back. We’ll have her ready.”
The trainer said that both horses have pretty much the same qualities.
“They just try,” he said. “In this day and age, they’ve got to have everything. They’ve got to have the ability and the want-to and they have to stay healthy. So far, both of them stayed healthy.
“They’re both well-managed horses. They’re easy on themselves around the barn, they’re easy to train, easy to race. They don’t do anything silly. It makes my job easier. They’re professional about what they do and how they go about their business.”
Mcvita Bella, whose four wins have all come in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series, is 6-1 on the morning line in her six-filly Debutante division. Tim Tetrick will handle the driving.
As for Workandplayhard, Butenschoen said he got a late start due to some soreness, but since shortening the colt’s hobbles the horse has been racing well.
Workandplayhard, a son of Western Terror-Slice Of Life, is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable and William Wiswell. He has won one of four starts and is 6-1 on the morning line in his Goshen Cup division, with Callahan in the bike.
“I expect him to have a good showing,” he said. “I want to give him a good experience. He has races all the way through November. He is Breeders Crown eligible. His season is just starting up and getting going.”
And if it goes like it has for Butenschoen’s other two horses racing Friday, the sweet part of the year could be extended a while longer.