Manalapan, NJ --- On a frigid winter’s day, 80-year-old harness driver James R. Porter drove the winner of the third race at Freehold Raceway on Thursday (Jan. 2) with a horse owned by 80-year-old Eugene Landy.
|Helene Gregory/World Wide Racing Photos|
Buenos Aires Lady (#1) won by a head over (#8) Abbie'sgotattitude and (#5) Mass Matazz.
It was the first career win for 5-year-old Buenos Aires Lady, who paid $17 to win. The trotting mare covered the mile in 2:03.3 with Porter at the lines, prevailing by a head in a three-way photo.
Porter, who turned 80 on Nov. 12, opted to drive the mare himself because he never had problems with her breaking stride during training sessions. In their first start together, they finished second. Thursday’s victory was their second outing together.
Porter, who hails from Smyrna, Del., has 2,134 career driving victories but this was his first since 2011 and only the fourth time he has taken the lines in the past two years.
"I just have to keep talking to her the whole mile," Porter said. "If she doesn't know I'm back there, she gets nervous and runs."
Back in the winner’s circle at Freehold to celebrate the victory was Eugene Landy of Freehold, N.J., who turned 80 on Nov. 6.
Buenos Aires Lady, who is by Revenue and out of Fandango Hall, was born at the Landy family’s Congress Hill Farm in Monroe Township, N.J.